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Rev. James Leach 




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in 2010 with funding from 

University of Toronto 










' Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, was this grace 
given, to preach unto the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ ; 
and to make all men see what is the dispensation of the mystery which 
from all ages hath been hid in God, who created all things; to the 
intent that now unto the principalities and powers in the heavenly 
places might be made known through the Church the manifold wisdom 
of God, according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ 
Jesus our Lord.' — St. Paul. 

' I look upon all the world as my parish.' — John Wesley. 




First Edition, July, 1921 





The First Planting in New South Wales . . . 13-36 

The Growth of the Australian Colonies — A Convict Settle- 
ment — Governor Phillip — Samuel Marsden — Three notable 
Class-leaders — The first Missionary to Australia — ' John 
Lees' Acre ' — An Asylum for the Poor — The Australian 
Magazine — Arrival of additional Missionaries — Leigh's return 
— Appointed to New Zealand. 


Relapse and Recovery in New South Wales . . 37-62 

A Ground of Contention — Walter Lawry — Financial Diffi- 
culties — Candidates for the Ministry — Erskine's Chairmanship 
— Arrival of Joseph Orton — New Mission Stations — Daniel 
James Draper — State Aid for Missionaries — Increase of 
Immigration — Appointment of W. B. Boyce. 

Early Days in Tasmania ...... 63-81 

Van Diemen's Land — Benjamin Carvosso — Methodist Soldiers 
— Arrival of Samuel Leigh — Mansfield at Hobart Town — 
Methodism attacked — Sir George Arthur — William Butters — 
Joseph Orton appointed Chairman — John Waterhouse — 
Educational Institutions — Horton College. 




Gold and the Gospel in Victoria .... 82-100 

Australia Felix — The Launceston Expedition — Governor 

Latrobe — Joseph Orton again — Schofield and Sweetman 

Victoria a separate District — The Rush for Gold The 

' Wesleyan Immigrants' Home ' — Reinforcements from 
England — The Basis of sound Citizenship — Notable Ministers. 


South and Western Australia 101-126 

The Australian Land Company — Methodist Colonists 

Adelaide — William Longbottom and John Eggleston A 

Conflict of Interests — Copper Mines — Accessions to the 
Church— Daniel J. Draper— The Pirie Street Church— A Set- 
back and Recovery — Returns of Membership in 1854. 

Western Australia — The Forerunners of the Missionary 

Hardey and Clarkson— John Smithies at Perth— A lonely 
Station — Samuel Hardey — Statistics. 


Advance, Australia ! 


William B. Boyce— Instructions from the Committee- 
Developments in Sydney— Shortage of Missionaries— A 
Scheme that Failed— An Official Visit and a satisfactory Re- 
port—The Australasian Methodist Connexion— Its Con- 
stitution—The first Conference — Review of the Districts- 


The Aborigines 

1 46-1 61 

A sad Chapter— Ill-Treatment of Aborigines — Four distinct 
Attempts to Evangelize— The Paramatta Seminary— An 
Industrial Mission— The Port Phillip Mission— Francis Tuck- 
field— John Smithies' Effort— In Tasmania— An Effort to 
deport Aborigines— An extinct Race— Other Efforts in 
Australia — Present Situation. 


New Zealand 


The Story of Wesleydale ...... 165-196 

The Maories — Victims of Trickery — Samuel Marsden in New 
Zealand — The Bay of Islands Mission — Massacre — The Visit 
of Samuel Leigh — Its Result — ' The Napoleon of New Zealand ' 
— James Stack — Whangaroa Bay and Wesleydale — John 
Hobbs — ' A bad Patch ' — A Spell of Quiet — Good Progress, 
but a dark Horizon — Exiles — The Return to Sydney. 


Replanting Amongst the Maoris ..... 197-226 

The new Station — Mangungu — Mission Schools — The first 
Baptism — Two great Missionaries — Literary Work — Rein- 
forcements — School Festivals — The Wives of Missionaries — 
The Comity of Missions — The first Martyrs of New Zealand — 
James Buller — The Mission house destroyed — John Water- 
house, General Superintendent — Five Recruits followed by six 
more — Richard Day — A Division of the Districts — 
Colonization — Ecclesiastical Strife. 


English and Maori ....... 227-25.3 

A Land of Promise — The New Zealand Association — Land- 
grabbing extraordinary — Sir George Grey's Administration — 
Annexation of New Zealand — A Crown Colony — Beginnings 
of Conflict — Causes of Discontent — Representative Government 
— A Land League — Death of John Whiteley — Rebellion — 
Notable Missionaries — Methodism in the South Island — 
' The Canterbury Pilgrims ' — A separate Conference. 


Islands of the South Seas 


First Attempts upon Tonga ...... 257-276 

Polynesia — Ethnological Theories — Tonga — Political Organ- 
ization — Character of Inhabitants — Native Religion — The 
L.M.S. in Tonga — Methodist Occupation — Leigh and Lawry — 
An unfulfilled Hope. 


The Pentecost of Tonga ...... 277-309 

A fresh Start — Mr. and Mrs. Thomas and John Hutchinson — 
A proposed Abandonment — Nathaniel Turner — A bold Step 
— A Tonic for Despondency — King Tubou's Decision — A 
happy Change — Peter Vi — Lifuka — A Misunderstanding — 
Annus Mirabilis — Reinforcements — Taufa-ahau — King George 
of Tonga — Baptism of Finau — An established Mission — Two 
Recruits — Pentecost. 


The Tongan Church after 1834 ..... 310-337 

Evangelization and Edification — More Labourers for the 
Reaping — Rebel Chiefs — Tubou and Fatou — Visit of John 
Waterhouse — Romanist Attempts — A Spreading Gospel — 
Methodists of Uvea — Enthusiasm — A Royal Code of Laws — 
Revival — King George and the Disaffected — Political Dis- 
turbances — Complete Evangelization of the Friendly Islands. 


Two Societies in Samoa ...... 338-362 

Samoans — The first Christian — The Lotu Tonga — L.M.S. 
Visitors — Tahitian Teachers — Turner in Samoa — A Compact 
between the Societies — Dismay of the Samoans — An impartial 
Judgement — Intervention of King George — Action of the 
Australian Conference. 



The Cannibal Islands ....... 363-380 

The Fiji Islands — Their Inhabitants — Religious Ideas and 
Customs — The Coming of the Gospel — Cross and Cargill — 
Lakemba — First-fruits — Persecutions — Recruits from England. 


Hunt, Calvert, and Lyth ...... 381-430 

A powerful Appeal — The Response of the Church — Richard 
Burdsall Lyth — John Hunt — James Calvert — A Missionary 
Heroine — Christian Literature — Thakombau — The Rewan 
Mission — David Cargill — A Round of Inspection — Fire and 
Sword — Somosomo — Hopeful Signs unfulfilled — The Fate of 
Sodom — Ono — A Case of Betrothal — Lakemba again — 
Conversion of Verani — Revival — Death of John Hunt. 


The Victory of Christ in Fiji ..... 431-469 

A Reinforced Staff— End of Ten Years of War— The 
Rewa Circuit — Further Developments — Thevalala — Nandi — 
Critical Events of the Period — Vacillation of Thakombau — 
Levuka — ' Refrain : I love Them ' — Accession of Thakombau 
— His Enemies — King George Intervenes — Baptism of 
Thakombau — Fiji for Christ — The Testimony of Miss Gordon- 


The Growth cf the Australian Colonies — A Convict Settlement — 
Governor Phillip — Samuel Marsden — Three notable Class-leaders — The 
first Missionary to Australia- — ' John Lees' Acre ' — An Asylum for the 
Poor — The Australian Magazine — Arrival of additional Missionaries — 
Leigh's Return — Appointed to New Zealand. 

The growth of the Australian Colonies is one of the marvels 
of the nineteenth century. Their history began with the 
landing of Governor Phillip, with two ship-loads of convicts 
at Botany Bay on January 20, 1788 ; within one hundred and 
twenty years of that time the convict settlement had become 
a self-governing Commonwealth of 4,000,000 English-speaking 
people, occupying an island four-fifths of the size of Europe, 
with a foreign trade amounting (in imports and exports) to 
the value of £100,000,000 annually. Second only to the 
Dominion of Canada in magnitude and wealth amongst the 
colonial states, the Australian Commonwealth is surpassed 
by none in the ardour of its loyalty to the British Empire, a 
loyalty which thousands of its sons have proved by the sacrifice 
of life and blood on the South African veldt, at the Dardanelles, 
and in France. 

This continent of the Southern Seas, which has become a 
chief home of the British race, was probably sighted by European 
navigators before the middle of the sixteenth century ; the 
Spaniards and the Dutch ' were the first to make acquaintance 
with its coast : ' New Holland,' the designation first given to 
the country, and the name ' Torres Straits,' by which the 
narrow waters separating Australia from New Guinea are 
known, bear witness to this priority. Not till 1899, when 

1 ' We must ascribe to the Dutch the merit of being our harbingers ; though we 
afterwards went on beyond them in their own trade.' This observation of the 
Editors of Captain Cook's later Voyages (1784) applies to much in the relations of 
these two great maritime peoples. 



Dampier surveyed the western shores (which he found barren 
and uninviting), did British enterprise contribute to the 
exploration of this new world. Captain James Cook discovered, 
in 1770, the more attractive eastern coast, and was the first 
to define the shape of the mighty island and to disclose to his 
countrymen its magnitude and possible value. 1 Landing in 
Botany Bay (so called from the rich flora displayed behind 
the shore), he took possession of the country for the British 
Crown, giving it the name of ' New South Wales/ from the 
aspect of the coast-line and landscape. The British Govern- 
ment just then was at a loss in dealing with its condemned 
criminals, whom it could no longer deport, since the Rebellion, 
to the American colonies. An experiment was made in 
transportation to West Africa ; but the mortality amongst 
the wretches landed on that coast was appalling. Botany 
Bay, upon Captain Cook's report, appeared to offer an ideal 
location for a convict settlement ; abundant space, a whole- 
some climate, a soil adapted to agriculture, and remoteness 
and isolation. Here the undesirable might be disposed of to 
their own and their country's gain. By suitable discipline 
the penal colony was to be made reformatory ; the convicts 
would be in a position in due time to earn their release by good 
conduct, they would become tillers of the land or useful 
mechanics, removed from temptation and making a new start 
in a new country, and England would secure what was likely 
to prove in the future a valuable colonial possession, thus 
turning its wastrels to fruitful account. By such considera- 
tions Viscount Sydney, the Colonial Secretary of the second 
William Pitt's first government, was led to send out, under 
the direction of Lieutenant-Colonel Arthur Phillip, the expedi- 
tion whose forces, after reconnoitring Botany Bay, ultimately 
landed in Port Jackson, the splendid harbour a little to the 
north of Botany Bay, and laid the foundations of the town of 

The colony of New South Wales was fortunate indeed in its 
situation ; and its chief was an able, energetic, and high- 
principled man. But the human material supplied for its 

11 To the English nation, the most momentous voyage of discovery that has ever 
taken place, for it practicallv gave birth to the great Australasian Colonies ' ; see the 
Preface to Captain Cook's Journal, edited by W. J. L. Wharton (1893). There is an 
excellent short Life of Captain Cook, from the pen of Walter Besant, in the series of 
English Men of Action (Macmillan). 


making was of a most unpromising kind, the sweepings of the 
British jails and hulks. Beside the 756 convicts (men and 
women) conveyed in Phillip's ships, there were 200 marines, 
including officers with soldiers, a number of whom brought 
wives with them, intending to make a home in the new country. 
Most of these men proved, however, little fitted for any service 
or employment beyond their military duties. No proper staff 
had been provided for the management and training of the 
convict settlers. Only on the strong representations of William 
Wilberforce was a chaplain assigned to Phillip's fleet ; and the 
clergyman appointed, though a pious and well-meaning man, 
was without the force of character necessary for his task ; no 
schoolmaster of any kind accompanied the expedition. Live 
stock and seed had been supplied, but agricultural implements 
and equipment were wanting. A single man was discovered 
in the whole company competent to give instruction in land 
cultivation, but he died within three years. The first free 
settlers, including a number of farmers, did not arrive until 
1793 ; these were ill-found and scurvy-stricken. Under such 
conditions tillage made scant progress ; by the year 1791 no 
more than 700 acres of land had been reclaimed. The colony 
being expected to support itself, supplies from home were 
slenderly furnished, while economy and temperance were habits 
foreign to most of Phillip's subjects. Within two years the 
community was on the brink of starvation, » which it escaped 
only through the Governor's careful management, and the 
timely arrival of a provision ship from England. 

The moral difficulties of the situation were greater even than 
those of the material order. The Governor set a fine example, 
making strenuous and in the main well-directed efforts to 
secure order, and to reform his convict charge ; in some instances 
his attempts were notably successful. But the military 
officers, for the most part, hindered rather than helped his 
benevolent policy ; and the lack of assistants and of appliances 
made success in the main object of the Colony for the present 
almost hopeless. His health failed, and in 1792 he was 
compelled to return to England, defeated but not dishonoured. 
In the midst of his troubles he found means to carry on 
extensive surveys both by land and sea. 

1 It is a curious coincidence that about the same time the first settlers in Upper 
Canada, through a very different train of cause*, were threatened with the same fate. 


Not till 1795 was a successor to Governor Phillip appointed ; 
meanwhile a military ring established themselves in power, 
who substituted martial for civil law, and took measures to 
secure a monopoly of trade, which they shamelessly exploited. 
Against this faction, which secured powerful allies in England 
and debauched the Colony, successive Governors contended 
in vain. Probably no other British Colony has ever fallen 
into a condition so debased and disgraceful as that in which 
the settlement of New South Wales existed for sixteen years 
after Lieutenant-Colonel Phillip's departure. Moral restraints 
and the common decencies of life were cast aside. Rum was 
recognized as the ordinary medium of exchange. The more 
desperate convicts escaped, and lived in the wilds as marauding 
' bush-rangers.' Not a few who had been emancipated 
returned to their evil ways ; floggings and hangings failed to 
suppress the crimes of violence with which the Colony was 
rife. Sydney, and the little towns about it, were ' like unto 

At length the scandal of New South Wales became intolerable ; 
the inquiry instituted in 1808, on the recall of Governor Bligh, 
who had been actually put under arrest and deposed by the 
military commandant, led to drastic changes ; and Lieutenant 
Lachlan Macquarie, who ruled the Colony from 1809 to 1821, 
was placed in effective authority. With the aid of the more 
respectable settlers, whose numbers were steadily increasing, 
he succeeded in putting the affairs of New South Wales upon 
a sound basis, and earned the title of ' father of the Colony.' 
But the character of its first batch of immigrants, and the 
abuses which prevailed during the time of military ascendancy, 
left their mark in the history of New South Wales, and on 
the character of early Australian society. 

Samuel Marsden was sent out to the Colony in 1794 as Junior 
Chaplain. This notable man was the son of a Methodist 
family belonging to Horsforth, near Leeds. He had come at 
Cambridge University under Charles Simeon's influence, and 
was a true missionary and a man of earnest faith. He soon 
succeeded to the Chief Chaplaincy. Endowed with the energy 
and spirit that had been lacking in his predecessor, Marsden 
fearlessly denounced both public and private vice, and stood 
by the Governors in their attempts at reform. In course of 
time he became a power in the Colony, and did more than 


any other single man to stem the tide of lawlessness. Marsden 
had his faults ; he was taxed with ' severity as a magistrate,' 1 
and with ' a too obvious desire to make the best of both worlds ' ; 
but the historians of Australia and New Zealand refer to 
him generally in terms of warm commendation. They speak 
of his ' heroic unselfishness and steadiness of purpose, and 
readiness to make any personal sacrifice for the good of others,' 
of ' his overwhelming sympathy for the suffering and oppressed.' 

Not even twenty years' experience as a chaplain in New South Wales 
[it is said] could make a misanthrope of a man like Marsden. . . . His 
letters to the Church Missionary Society are marvels of matured 
sagacity, of searching insight into human nature ; he never despaired 
of bringing good out of the degraded convict or the ferocious savage. 

This brave, devoted, and catholic-minded Anglican missionary 
assisted materially in the introduction of Methodism to 
Australia ; and we shall meet him again when we come to the 
story of the New Zealand Mission. John Watsford, who 
knew him in boyhood, speaks of him as 

a grand old man, who exercised a great influence for good on the 
early days of our history, and was much respected by everybody. 

In the year 181 1 Marsden wrote to England asking that a 
schoolmaster might be sent to teach the convicts' children. 
Thomas Bowden, a London Methodist and a zealous Class- 
leader — master of the Charity School in Great Queen Street — 
was the man selected. He arrived at Sydney in January, 1812. 
Six months later he appealed for help to his Methodist friends 
at home, reporting the formation of two small Society Classes 
in Sydney and one at Windsor, a township situated some 
thirty miles inland from the capital, He refers to the holding 
of the ' first Class-meeting ' (in Sydney) on March 6 of that 
year, and to the lovefeast taking place four weeks later, in 
the little Windsor band united with the Sydney Society, when 
' God was eminently present and gave us such a humble, 
simple, loving spirit that the place was a little heaven ! ' 
' Though we have a few worthy clergymen here ' (Marsden 
and his colleagues) , he goes on to say, ' there is a great famine 

1 Transgressors are said to have prayed when about to appear before Marsden 
as he sat on the Bench : ' Lord, have mercy upon us, for his Reverence has none ! ' 



of the Word of God, while iniquity exceedingly abounds.' He 
entreats that ' some Ministers may be sent us, whom God has 
appointed for so great a work.' He and his friends will be 
answerable for the support of two, if the right men can be 
found and their outfit provided from England. 

I am sure [Bowden concludes] Mr. Marsden would be glad to see the 
different settlements provided, especially if we proceed in the primitive 
way of Methodism — not in hostility against the Church, but rather in 
unison with it, not so much to make a party distinct from the Church 
as to save souls in the Church. Of course, the Preacher should not be 
radically a Dissenter ; if possible, one attached to the Establishment, 
as Mr. Wesley, Dr. Clarke, and most of the primitive Preachers were. 

Apart from the closing stipulation (in which Marsden 's 
hand may be traced) Thomas Bowden's letter reads much 
like the early appeals to Wesley and the Conference from 
America. The ' zealous Class-leader ' found amongst the 
early settlers a handful of pious Methodists, whom he gathered 
round him in Society ; these supplied a little Church in the 
wilderness and a base for the operations of the itinerant 
Preacher. This letter was followed up by a formal application 
addressed to the Missionary Committee and ' signed, in the 
name and on behalf of the Society, by Thomas Bowden and 
J. Hosking, Leaders,' which gives a careful account of the 
nature of the country and the condition of its people, * and sets 
forth effectively its spiritual need. The Governor and the 
clergy are described in eulogistic terms ; their goodwill is 
counted upon for the proposed mission, on the understanding, 
however, that ' the exertions ' of the Methodist Preachers 
' did not imply an opposition to the Established Church.' In 
this understanding lay the seeds of future trouble. Bowden's 
Anglican patrons appear to have expected that Methodism in 
Australia would be an auxiliary to the English Church ; and 
the question as between the Methodists and the Establishment 
which had been settled in England with so much difficulty 
after Wesley's death had to be fought out again in the colony. 

Send us a Preacher [the writers plead] tolerably supplied with 
wearing apparel and books, and, by the blessing of God, he shall be no 
further expense to you. 

1 Not a word is said in this long missionary appeal about the Aborigines. It is 
too evident that these miserable folk were a negligible quantity in the eyes of the 


The final assurance, given on behalf of the nineteen New South 
Wales Methodists, the Missionary Committee found to be 
sanguine indeed ! 

Bowden and Hosking estimate the number of souls in the 
colony as 20,000 at this date — ' natives of the British Isles 
and their descendants.' They say, too truly* that 

from the description of people sent hither much good cannot be expected. 
The higher ranks of those who were formerly convicts are either solely 
occupied in amassing wealth or rioting in sensuality ; the lower orders 
are indeed the filth and off scouring of the earth in point of wickedness. 

Of the above number 1,000, it is computed, were soldiers, and 
2,000 convicts still under sentence. Every year fresh consign- 
ments of reprobates were shipped to New South Wales, adding 
to the factors of its vice and crime. In 1837 ft was supposed 
that quite a third of the population, then amounting to about 
35,000, had reached Australia in this character. l 

The John Hosking who signed the letter of invitation to the 
Missionary Committee had lived in the colony since 1809 ; he 
was of the same profession as Bowden, being master of a Girls' 
Orphan School. His son became the first Mayor of Sydney. 
The Leader of the little Class at Windsor was Edward Eagar, 
an Irishman educated for the Bar, who had been sentenced 
to transportation for forgery and embezzlement. In his Irish 
prison he had been brought to repentance through Methodist 
visitation. His exemplary conduct won for him release, and 
his abilities quickly raised him to an honourable place in the 
community. Bowden refers to him as ' of a humble, affec- 
tionate disposition, and zealous in the cause of God.' At 
Eagar's house in Sydney Samuel Leigh stayed on the night of 
his arrival ; his host introduced him the next morning to 
Governor Macquarie, and proved his right-hand helper. This 
gentleman became the first Circuit Steward in Australia. In 

1 The reformatory purpose with which the penal settlement was founded was 
happily realized in a large proportion of instances, where men who had arrived with 
the brand of the law upon them earned their pardon by diligence and orderliness, and 
became honourable and even prosperous citizens. Their descendants are to be found 
to-day amongst the most respected families in the colony. The barbarous severity of 
the English Criminal Law in former times not unfrequently led to the infliction of 
death or penal servitude for comparatively venial offences. At the time when Trade 
Unions and organized strikes were illegal, leaders of the work-people were sentenced 
to transportation ; and amongst these exiles were men of marked ability and ex- 
cellent character — some of them, indeed, Local Preachers. Methodism in New South 
Wales received valuable recruits through this channel, and Liberal politics no little 


his first letter Bowden mentions also ' a soldier or two of the 
75th Regiment ' as belonging to the original Sydney Society. 
Here he doubtless refers to Sergeant James Scott, who had 
been converted to God and united to the Methodist Church 
when on service in the West Indies. Distinguished for his 
probity and force of character, Sergeant Scott, on his retirement 
from the army, was appointed by Governor Macquarie to an 
important post on the Civil Service, and spent the rest of his 
life in the colony. He was the third Class-leader amongst the 
Sydney Methodists, and one of the five members of the first 
Circuit Quarterly Meeting. Out of his own means he built 
the first Methodist chapel in the city, situated in Prince's 
Street, which was opened in 1819. Scott's signature, along 
with those of the other Leaders named, appears at the foot of 
the letter of thanks addressed from Sydney to the ' Honoured 
and Reverend Fathers ' of the Missionary Committee, dated 
on March 2, 1816, seven months after Samuel Leigh's arrival. 
These four were the lay pioneers of Methodism in Australia — 
two schoolmasters, a lawyer, and a soldier, one of them an 

At the time when this cry from the far-off ' Macedonia ' 
reached England, British Methodism was unable to make any 
immediate response. The Missionary Society did not yet exist ; 
the few supporters of Foreign Missions had their hands more 
than full with the work on hand in America and with the 
preparations for Dr. Coke's great venture in the East Indies. 
The Sierra Leone Mission had been commenced a year or two 
before. The Mission Fund was deep in debt, and the home 
funds of the Church were desperately straitened in this time 
of national poverty. But the success of the movement com- 
menced at Leeds in the autumn of 1813 put a new face 
on the situation, and encouraged the Missionary Committee 
to contemplate undertakings which had seemed wholly 
beyond its power. Now it was clear that the summons 
from the Southern Ocean was of the Lord, and the London 
Secretaries looked round for a fit man to send to New South 

Samuel Leigh, a zealous probationer of three years' standing 
and a volunteer for foreign service, had been chosen for Mon- 
treal ; but the uncertain outlook in North America, where 
Great Britain was at war with the United States, occasioned 


the cancelling of this appointment, a and the young missionary 
was transferred to the other side of the world. 2 It was at first 
intended to give two Missionaries to the new station ; but 
William Davies, the senior Preacher assigned to New South 
Wales, was required for Sierra Leone, and Leigh had to go 
alone. Samuel Leigh was of Staffordshire birth, and of fair 
education. Reared in the atmosphere of the Church of England, 
he retained a kindly f eeling for it ; but he traced his knowledge 
of salvation to the Wesleyan cottage-services held in his native 
village. He joined an Independent Church at Hanley, and 
subsequently entered Dr. Bogue's Theological Academy, with 
the view, apparently, of entering the Independent ministry. 
But the Calvinism of his teachers affronted young Leigh, and 
he threw in his lot finally with the Methodists, and was invited 
to assist Joseph Sutcliffe, then travelling the Burslem Circuit. 
Here he met with Dr. Coke, who fired the young Preacher with 
his own missionary ardour. In 1812 he was appointed to the 
Shaftesbury Circuit, where he laboured with extraordinary 
zeal. Leigh was recognized as a man of uncommon activity, 
both of mind and body, of high courage and robust faith, wholly 
free from self-seeking, and animated by the enthusiasm of the 
first Methodist Preachers. Had he known how to husband his 
strength, and had his judgement and patience and administra- 
tive skill been equal to his powers of initiative, Samuel Leigh 
would have been a Missionary of the first rank. He was nobly 
fitted for the work of a pioneer evangelist, and met the hard- 
ships and perils of his task in Australia and New Zealand with 
a simple heroism and a cheerful trust in God beyond all praise. 
His tombstone in Reading churchyard bears the inscription : 
' The first Methodist Missionary to the South Seas ' — an honour 
which Samuel Leigh well deserves to bear. 

Leigh's mother vehemently opposed his going abroad ; she 
consented at last in the following terms : 

Son Samuel, if the Lord has called thee to be a Missionary, He will 
no doubt enable me to give thee up. May the Lord Himself go with 
thee ! 

1 Leigh's passage was already taken, and he was on the point of embarking, 
when a letter arrived from Montreal asking that the new Preacher's coming should 
be postponed. His chagrin was turned into thanksgiving when three months later 
news arrived that the ship in which he should have sailed had foundered, four persons 
only escaping the wreck. 

*' New South Wales' appears in the Stations for 1817 as the last Circuit in 
' Asia,' following the six Ceylon Stations ' Madras ' and ' Bombay.' 


He was ordained under the hands of Dr. Adam Clarke, the 
President of that year, in October, 1814 ; and, according to 
the usage of the time, obtained a licence to preach from the 
Lord Mayor of London. It was thought desirable to secure 
further credentials for a Missionary to the new colony, and Dr. 
Clarke wrote to Viscount Sidmouth, a member of the Govern- 
ment with whom he had some influence, stating that Mr. 
Leigh was going to New South Wales in ' the double capacity ' 
of Preacher and schoolmaster. » It was promised that his com- 
ing to Sydney should be notified from the Colonial Office ; but 
Lord Sidmouth's reply presumed that if Mr. Leigh was ' going 
out as a Missionary ' he would proceed under the auspices of 
the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel ; otherwise the 
Colonial Government could only recognize him officially in the 
capacity of a schoolmaster. This correspondence caused some 
embarrassment, and Leigh found it necessary to declare to the 
Missionary Committee : 

I go as your Missionary, depending upon you and holding myself 
responsible to you for my conduct, and not as the hired servant of the 
colonists, of whom I know nothing. 

His Life, written by Alexander Strachan, * intimates that it 
was necessary for him to make this attitude very clear at 

Leigh embarked at Portsmouth on February 25, and landed 
at Port Jackson on August 10, 1815, the vessel sailing by way 
of the Cape of Good Hope, and encountering dangers both from 
enemy ships and from a succession of heavy storms. Like most 
of the early Missionaries, he exercised a useful Mission on ship- 
board. Governor Macquarie,' though disappointed in his hope 

1 Dr. Clarke seems to have supposed that Leigh might be partly employed as a 
Government teacher ; this was the case with the first Ceylon Missionaries ; but neither 
the Missionary Committee nor Leigh contemplated such divided service. 

2 Published by the Methodist Book-Room, 1863. 

* The worthy Governor stood the Methodist Preacher's friend on some critical 
occasions. One day he was dining with the magistrates and Government officers at 
Windsor, and the resident magistrate asked in conversation whether His Excellency 
was aware of the visits of the Missionary Leigh to the township, and his attempts to 
make Methodists of the people, saying that in his own opinion it would be well to send 
the man ' to work with the chain-gang in the Newcastle coal-mines ' ! Another 
guest advised that it would be better to leave him at liberty, but ' to keep a vigilant 
eye upon him.' The Governor assented to the latter advice, which, indeed, he had 
been acting upon for some time. ' I have now,' he added, ' sufficient evidence that 
he is doing good everywhere.' Then, turning to the truculent magistrate, he said : 
' Sir, when Mr. Leigh comes here again I desire that you will call the servants of the 
Government into the store-room, that he may preach to them. Remember, I wish 
this to be regularly done in future.' 


of securing a new schoolmaster, and expressing frankly his 
dislike of sectarianism, and regret that Leigh had come ' as a 
Wesleyan Missionary/ nevertheless, on hearing an explanation 
of his views and purposes, said : 

I believe your intentions are good, and therefore you may expect 
from me every encouragement. I wish you the same success in your 
Mission you wish for yourself. 

This assurance was made good. The Chief Chaplain gave a 
kindly reception to the new-comer — Samuel Marsden had not 
forgotten his early days — and was prepared to treat the 
Methodist Preacher as a fellow worker. He found in Leigh a 
man after his own heart, and the two became hearty friends. 
Leigh, on his part, avoided all appearance of rivalry with the 
clergy ; he observed in this respect the wishes expressed in his 
invitation sent from Sydney, and the instructions of the 
Missionary Committee, with which his own judgement con- 
curred. It is pleasant to recognize here, as was the case in 
West Africa, the friendly and Christian relations which the 
Anglican and Wesleyan Missionaries held towards each other, 
an attitude, on the part of the former, the opposite of that 
prevailing in the American colonies. In both these instances 
the clergymen concerned were associated with the Church 
Missionary Society. 

Leigh found the three Classes and nineteen members of 
Society reported three years earlier reduced to a third of those 
numbers. He was able immediately to start another Class in 
Sydney, and three others within a short time at Parramatta, 
Windsor, and Castlereagh » ; and reported a membership of 
thirty within the first few months. A preaching-room was 
hired, to hold 200 people, at ' The Rocks,' in Sydney, near 
Thomas Bowden's house ; this building was speedily filled. It 
served the Sydney congregation until the building of the 
Prince's Street Chapel in 1819. Other preaching-places were 
mapped out at the townships above-named and in a number 
of additional settlements. By the end of the first year a 
' Circuit ' had been constituted, with Methodist meetings and 
usages in regular observance, including a Sunday school. 

1 Parramatta, the residence of the Governor, stood in a pleasant and fertile 
district fourteen miles inland from Sydney. Castlereagh was a farming township 
near Windsor, at the foot of the Blue Mountains. 


Leigh showed great diligence and energy, and was well 
supported by his lay helpers. Notable conversions attended 
his preaching during the early period, particularly that of 
James Watsford of Parramatta (father of the Fijian Mis- 
sionary, John Watsford) , who was well known for many years 
as the proprietor and driver of the stage-coach from Sydney 
to Parramatta. The Quarterly Meeting found itself at the 
end of the first year with a debit balance of £30, which its 
members settled by dividing the debt amongst them. The 
Missionary's allowances as fixed at this time amounted to £10 
quarterage, with the addition of board, washing, fuel, postage 
and stationery, travelling expenses, and furniture provided. 
During the second year, after visiting all the principal 
settlements, Leigh reports to the Committee : 

My Circuit extends 150 miles, which distance I travel in ten days. 
I preach at fifteen places, and in every place there appears to be a desire 
to hear the Word of God. . . . There is every encouragement we can 
expect from the state of the colony. The people are very hospitable, 
and many have been so to me. I have seen four Sunday schools 
established, which are now in a flourishing state. 

He asks for the necessary books, saying that all he brought out 
with him are in use. 

I will give you [he continues] an account of a Sabbath day's work 
in the country. I preach at ten o'clock in the morning ; dine, and ride 
seven miles, and preach at two ; ride six miles, and preach at five ; 
from thence I ride six miles, and preach at seven in the evening. I am 
sometimes afraid that my constitution will not stand the labour, the 
climate being so very hot, and having to travel in the heat of the day. 
But the pleasing sight of the people flocking to the house of prayer, 
some with chairs and others with stools on their shoulders to sit upon 
when assembled to hear the Word of God, urges me to persevere, and 
while I am praying and working for their souls I forget my fatigue. . . . 
A poor man walked fourteen miles a few days since to consult me about 
the salvation of his soul. 

Leigh's encounter with John Lees of Castlereagh was amongst 
the most striking incidents in his pioneer journeys. He had 
heard of a Staffordshire farmer at this distant place, and 
reached his house somewhat late, armed with a letter of intro- 
duction. The surly man refused him all hospitality or facility 
for preaching, but pointed him to the house of a neighbour, two 


miles distant, who was reputed to be a Bible-reader. Hither 
the wearied Missionary and horse travelled. Knocking at the 
door, Leigh cried out : ' Will you receive a Wesleyan 
Missionary ? ' A sturdy lad appeared, who, seizing the bridle 
in one hand and the stirrup in the other, exclaimed : ' Get off, 
sir ! My father will be glad to see you.' On Leigh's entering 
the family were found assembled for worship. ' Perhaps you 
will take this duty off my hands,' were the father's first words. 
Opening the Bible, Leigh turned to the thirty-fifth chapter of 
Isaiah, and read, with uncontrollable emotion : ' The wilderness 
and the solitary place shall be glad for them,' and so on — a 
prophecy, as Colwell remarks, ' afterwards to be fulfilled on 
that spot.' As the company rose from their knees the host 
grasped his visitor's hand and said : 

We have been praying for three years that God would send us a 
Missionary ; now that you are come we are right glad to see you. We 
had not heard of your arrival in the colony. 

This was John Lees, who had come out as a soldier in the New 
South Wales Corps and shared for some time in the misdoings 
of that notorious company. * He had retired from the service 
and received a grant of land, on which he was now living. 
He married and reared a numerous family. Some time 
before this he had narrowly escaped death from snake-bite, 
an experience which led him to repentance and a complete 
change of life. He owed much at this crisis to the influence of 
a neighbouring clergyman. 

Lees was a man of deep piety and of scrupulous consistency, 
mighty in prayer and bold in his confession of Christ, and 
withal a liberal and cheerful giver. Benjamin Carvosso relates, 
in illustration of his sensitive devoutness, how in a rainy 
harvest-time the two were walking through the fields and the 
Minister made some commonplace remark about ' the bad 
weather.' His companion turned upon him with a look of 
surprise, almost of indignation, and said very firmly : ' I think, 
sir, the weather will always be good ! ' Next day, to be sure, 
by a sudden turn of the season, the clouds dispersed, and John 
Lees carried his wheat home but little damaged. ' I was left,' 

1 This body of troops, raised in England for service in the colony, had been the 
chief instrument of the abuses and misgovernment referred to on p. 16. It was 
disbanded, and its chief officer cashiered, after an inquiry into the circumstances 
connected with the mutiny against Governor Macquarie's predecessor. 


writes Carvosso, ' to meditate on the instruction in righteousness 
I had received.' 

In this saintly farmer Methodism won a staunch friend and a 
shining example of the power of godliness. John Lees counts 
as a fifth added to the four lay fathers of Australian Methodism 
we have mentioned. He built the first Australian Methodist 
chapel — a plain weatherboard structure at Castlereagh, which 
was opened for Divine worship on October 7, 1817, and served 
its sacred purpose for nearly a generation. At the same time 
he endowed the Mission with an acre of his land, contributing 
its full annual produce to the funds of the Society. In later 
years he used to say that this had been his best investment, for 
' since that time the neighbours all observed that my wheat 
grew thicker and stronger than theirs ! ' Probably good 
farming had something to do with the superiority of Lees' crops, 
and God's blessing followed upon competent and conscientious 
industry. The present Wesleyan church at Castlereagh stands 
upon ' John Lees' acre.' 

The Missionary found himself often in company far different 
from that of his friends at Castlereagh. Escaped criminals 
and desperadoes invested the country roads, especially on the 
borders of the colony, which Leigh traversed unattended, and 
his life was many times in danger ; but he met with respect, 
and even kindness, where it was least expected ; and the wild 
Natives never harmed him. ' I have gone through troops of 
savages,' he writes, ' in safety.' He preached in Newcastle, far 
north of Sydney at the mouth of the Hunter River, to the 
incorrigible convicts drafted there from other stations. Here 
he found a congregation of 800, with no Minister on the spot, 
and pleaded that a Missionary should be found for these chief 
of sinners, amongst whom his preaching produced a saving, 
gracious effect. He extended his round as far as Bathurst, 
which lies beyond the Blue Mountains 120 miles west of Sydney, 
where Macquarie had established the first township on the 
inland plateau. In this place he gathered a small Society, 
furnishing a base for future advance into the continent. 

To Leigh belongs also the honour of originating the oldest 
institutions of public philanthropy in New South Wales. He 
was great in starting things and setting those about him to 
work ; no sooner did he see a need than he laid hold of the 
readiest means for supplying it. Distressed by the poverty and 


sickness prevalent in Sydney, which were due chiefly to the 
ignorance and low habits of many of the people, he employed a 
couple of visitors to inquire into cases of necessity with a view 
to relief ; and he laid the results of his inquiry before the 
Methodist Society. This led to the formation of a Committee 
for charitable purposes, with John Hosking for treasurer, which 
was joined by William Cartwright, one of Marsden's fellow 
chaplains, and enlisted in its support the Christian public of the 
city. The organization thus commenced took the name of ' The 
New South Wales Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge 
and Benevolence/ and became a permanent and valuable 
institution. Its promoters waited early upon the Governor, 
with the request that a building might be provided to house the 
destitute sick. He granted the petition. With the Governor's 
patronage liberal help was forthcoming, and the ' Sydney 
Asylum for the Poor ' was opened, which eventually became a 
flourishing public establishment. Its success provoked the 
jealousy of some officious people in the city, who sent a 
memorandum to the Colonial Secretary in England pointing 
out the importance and usefulness of the asylum and request- 
ing that ' as an assurance of its lasting good and safe conduct, it 
should be transferred from the Methodists to the clergy and 
the members of the Anglican Church ' ! This proposal drew 
from Lord Bathurst a well-merited rebuke, which Governor 
Macquarie was careful to convey with emphasis to the offending 
parties. The decision was that 

the management of the Sydney Asylum for the Poor should remain in 
the hands of those with whom the institution originated ; that the 
accounts must be audited, as heretofore, once a year ; and that the 
Governor was authorized to pay from the Colonial revenue its annual 
deficiency of income. 

Leigh's visitors made a discovery which led to another impor- 
tant step in the religious progress of the colony. A house-to- 
house canvass revealed the fact that but one Bible existed in 
Sydney for every ten families. Here lay one cause, surely, 
of the deplorable ignorance and vice that prevailed. 
Leigh imparted these facts to a leading magistrate of the 
city, whom he happened to meet, leaving with him at 
the same time a copy of the report of the Colombo 
Bible Society recently to hand. Impressed with what 


he had heard and read, this gentleman passed on the 
report to Lady Macquarie, who interested her husband in the 
matter ; and he, with his usual promptness, called together the 
clergy and leading laymen to confer upon the subject. His 
advisers acknowledged the grievous lack of copies of the 
Scriptures, but saw no means of remedy. Not satisfied with 
this conclusion, the Governor arranged for the holding of a 
public meeting to discuss the situation. Meanwhile several 
packages arrived addressed to His Excellency from the British 
and Foreign Bible Society, of whose existence no one in Sydney 
except the Methodist Missionary seems to have been aware. 
He had written to the Bible House some time previously acknow- 
ledging a grant made to himself on setting out to New South 
Wales, and suggesting communication with Governor Mac- 
quarie, and this was the result. The coincidence was provi- 
dential. The meeting convened by the Governor, who now 
had full information to give, was a complete success—' the 
most numerous and respectable,' it was said, ever held in New 
South Wales. The Judge Advocate and Chief Chaplain sup- 
ported the Governor with excellent speeches, and an Auxiliary 
Branch of the Bible Society was established, with Thomas 
Bowden for secretary and Samuel Leigh and the Governor's 
aide-de-camp for collectors, by means of which a knowledge of 
the Word of God was diffused through the colony. This 
memorable event took place in March, 1820. 

Leigh was a chief mover also in the formation of what was 
afterwards known as the ' Australian Religious Tract Society.' 
He got together a quantity of suitable tracts, and employed a 
number of soldiers and reformed convicts as distributers, with 
conspicuous effect. The Association, commenced in 1823, soon 
commended itself and became indispensable ; it spread with the 
growth of the colony, extending even to New Zealand. The 
report of 1831— the year in which Leigh left Australia- 
recorded the gratuitous distribution of upwards of 15,000 
tracts and small books, quite apart from the dissemination of 
Scripture through the Bible Society's agency. In these varied 
activities the New South Wales Missionary was a thorough 
imitator of John Wesley, who made social amelioration and the 
diffusion of cheap religious literature concomitants of the 
Evangelical Revival. 

Leigh became, like Wesley and Coke, a hardened beggar on 


behalf of his charitable undertakings, accosting people of all 
ranks and persuasions, and giving no thought whatever to his 
own enrichment. He was offered at once on landing a school- 
master's position, with a comfortable salary attached to it, and 
might have excused himself for accepting the post by the 
negotiations which had taken place at home about his appoint- 
ment, when the President of the Conference had suggested that 
he should act in the ' double capacity ' of schoolmaster-mis- 
sionary. But he saw that his work as Preacher would require 
his whole strength, and that he must be ' free from all men ' in 
the colony, that he might be ' the servant of all ' ; so the tempt- 
ing offer was promptly declined. When Governor Macquarie, 
wishing to do him a favour, inquired later why he had made no 
application for land on his own account when it was almost 
going a-begging, he answered that he had been sent out on 
spiritual business, and that he could accept land only for chapel 
sites ! To such grants, the Governor replied, he would be 
always welcome. On presenting a schedule containing a list 
of his property at a muster of the colonists made every three 
years, the Governor again chided him. ' Mr. Leigh,' said he, 
' have you nothing to return but your old horse ? Why, you 
seem to have neither grain nor cattle yet ! ' ' 

Such was the first Methodist Missionary in the South Seas, 
the father of Australian Methodism. Encouraged by Samuel 
Leigh's reports, and by the rapid growth of the Missionary 
Society, which had now become firmly established at home, the 
Committee sent out a second agent to New South Wales, who 
arrived on May 1, 1818. This was Walter Lawry, a Cornish- 
man of twenty-five years of age, as ardent and enterprising as 
Leigh himself, and endowed with mental capacities and gifts 
for preaching of no common order. Lawry was destined to 
fulfil a long course, and to play a distinguished part in the 
development of South Sea Missions. A first token of his arrival 
appeared in the publication at home of the following singular 
appeal, signed jointly by the two Preachers: 

1 A letter is extant from Leigh to his father and mother (October 14, 1817). in 
which he remarks : ' You are saving something for me, good parents,' and begs them 
to hand over the whole sum to the Missionary Society ! ' When there is a missionary 
collection,' he continues, ' never stand counting your money ; throw purse and all 
together into the collection ! ... In your chest your gold and silver will rust and 
corrupt ; in the missionary-box it cannot ; lay it up there ! ' His heart is half 
broken because he has written to ask for four Missionaries beside himself, " and the 
Committee have promised me only one. Sinners are perishing ! The harvest is 
great ! ' Such men of desperate earnestness, flinging themselves with utter selfless- 
ness into the breach, have marked the Church's way to victory on many a field. 


(14,000 miles off) 
To the members of the Methodist Society in particular, and to 
benevolent Christians in general, we, the undersigned Missionaries, send 

Forasmuch as your Ministers, books, and other means of instruction 
are abundant, and we are the only Missionaries in the Southern Hemi- 
sphere, l having one half the world as our field of action, we humbly 
solicit from you individually Twopence, to be remitted by your 
Preachers to the Rev. Joseph Benson, for the purpose of sending two 
more Missionaries to comfort our hearts, and be instrumental in saving 
some of the souls who are perishing for lack of knowledge. 
New South Wales, 181 8. 

What response this modest request elicited does not appear. 
For some time to come this couple of young men occupied the 
Southern Hemisphere — or all that was visible of it — by them- 
selves. But Australia was not large enough for their ambition. 
Marsden had already broken ground in New Zealand, which 
Captain Cook had brought within the knowledge of his fellow 
countrymen by his first published narrative, having circum- 
navigated this group of islands in 1770 on the same voyage in 
which he discovered New South Wales. Marsden had himself 
set foot on the North Island. He recognized the importance 
of this country of the Antipodes, and was struck by the vigour 
and intelligence of its savage inhabitants, of whom he had 
several in training under his own eye at Parramatta. By the 
aid of the Church Missionary Society he planted amongst them 
an industrial lay Mission, which he watched over with paternal 
solicitude. Being concerned about Leigh's health, who had 
manifestly overtaxed his powers, Marsden persuaded him, 
shortly after Lawry's coming, to take a voyage by way of 
holiday to inspect the New Zealand settlement. Leigh 
was absent on the excursion for eight months, and rendered 
considerable service to his hosts in their perilous station. He 
returned with his heart engaged to the Maoris of New Zealand, 
but convinced that the plan adopted by Marsden's pioneers, 
of making agriculture and trade a recommendation for the 
Gospel, * was unsound. This experience turned Samuel Leigh's 

1 They mean the only Methodist Missionaries. Even so, they had overlooked 
South Africa ! 

* Samuel Marsden appears to have been infected, on his visit to England in 1809, 
with the notions then prevalent in certain philanthropic and ecclesiastical circles 
there, expressed in the maxim : First civilize, then Christianize. This, Leigh 
maintained, was beginning at the wrong end ! 


thoughts in a new direction. At the same time Lawry was 
writing home to the Missionary Committee like a ' young man 
seeing visions ' : 

As to the success of the Gospel in this colony I have no doubt ; and 
I exult in it for many reasons. This station is one of the most important 
tinder your direction. From us I expect to see Missionaries sallying 
forth to those numerous islands which spot the sea on every side of us : 
the Friendly Islands, the Fijis, New Hebrides, New Caledonia, New 
Zealand, New Georgia ; and then to the north again, New Guinea, New 
Ireland, Celebes, Timor, Borneo, Gilolo, and a great cluster of thickly 
inhabited missionary outposts. How often have I thought of the 
good which, to all human probability, would result from one Missionary 
more for this place, one for Van Diemen's Land, and one for Newcastle. 
This would be a good supply ; but I doubt of seeing them arrive at 

The Committee must have smiled at the programme this 
visionary was mapping out for it ; but much of it the projector 
was to see accomplished in his own lifetime. The boldest 
dreamer could not have imagined what Australia and New 
Zealand were to become, and whereunto the ' grain of mustard- 
seed ' which the hand of Methodism was sowing on these shores 
would grow within the next forty years. Lawry's prophetic 
soul marked out Australia — and Sydney in particular — as the 
destined centre for the evangelization of the islands of the 

Leigh's health, which was but little benefited by his trip 
across the 1,000 miles of ocean to New Zealand, caused his 
friends increasing anxiety. His colleague's vigour and attrac- 
tive talent, however, gave a new impulse to their common work, 
and progress continued in the Sydney Circuit at a gratifying 
rate. Four new chapels were added in a little while to the two 
that had been first erected, at Castlereagh and in Sydney. The 
Prince's Street Chapel in the city was full to overflowing from 
its opening. A site for a second erection was furnished in 
Macquarie Street by the joint liberality of the Governor and 
Mr. Thomas Wylde, and Leigh laid the foundation-stone of the 
new church there on January 1, 1819 ; the building was com- 
pleted two and a half years later. Somewhat earlier a commo- 
dious chapel was raised by the Society at Windsor, upon a site 
given by the Chief Chaplain of the colony ; and a little later 
the needs of the Parramatta congregation were provided for 
in the like way. Here Lawry appears to have personally borne 


a large part of the cost of building. He was embarrassed by 
subscribers who wished to have the proposed sanctuary settled 
on an unsectarian trust, so that it might be used in common by 
several Churches ; but the Missionary carried his point, insisting 
that the property provided by the exertions of the Methodist 
Church and for the worship of its people should be placed 
legally and explicitly in its possession, and under the control 
of its Ministers. In his report made to the Missionary Com- 
mittee on arriving in England Leigh speaks of a sixth chapel, 
built at Nepean River, and ' undertaken by a friend to our 
Mission at his own expense ' ; this, like the preaching-house at 
Castlereagh, was a wooden structure. Within the first year or 
two a Minister's house, with serviceable church offices, had 
been acquired in Prince's Street, through the aid of Sergeant 
Scott, who subsequently built the (Prince's Street) Chapel on 
his plot of land close by. In no other of its fields abroad had 
Methodism so quickly housed itself ; the Missionary Society 
was called upon to spend but a few hundred pounds on this 
extensive plant. 1 The Church membership of the Circuit was 
but 83 in number when Leigh left Sydney ; evidently the 
Methodist Missionary had received much sympathy and support 
outside his own Society, and Governor Macquarie's opinion 
that he was ' doing good everywhere ' was pretty general. 

A great and manifold work had been achieved in a very 
short time by Samuel Leigh and his handful of helpers. 
Methodism, with its Gospel of redeeming grace and its organiza- 
tion for brotherly fellowship and universal charity, had been 
well planted, and the foundations laid for its upbuilding. But 
the cost of his success to the leader of the undertaking was 
heavy indeed. He had spent himself, and was in four years' 
time completely exhausted. Early in 1820 the doctors told 
him that his only hope of recovery lay in a voyage to England. 

Mr. Leigh has worn himself out in this Mission [write the Society 
Stewards to the London Committee]. We all perceived what would be 
the result of such incessant labour, and only wonder that he has sus- 
tained it so long. . . . After much persuasion he has consented to go 
home. He is exceedingly respected in this country. Should his health 
be restored, the Committee cannot send any man who will be so 
acceptable to the people as Mr. Leigh. 

1 It appears, however, that a debt of £1,000 (half the total cost) was contracted in 
building the Macquarie Street Chapel, which caused much trouble afterwards. 


William Cartwright, the Anglican chaplain, thus addressed the 
sick man on hearing of his approaching departure : 

I have for some time observed your declining state of health, but 
assuredly the Lord is fitting you for eminent service. I rather envy than 
pity you, knowing that your inward man is renewed day by day. None 
of us have, like yourself, escaped the tongue of the slanderer. Neither 
in my capacity of magistrate nor chaplain have I heard anything to 
your prejudice. . . . Take with you the comfort that you have the 
approbation of God and man. . . . May we but hope to have you 
again amongst us. You have a stock of knowledge which none can 
possess who have not passed through the same ordeal. 

Leigh reached England in the early summer of 1820. New- 
Zealand, and the state of the heathen of the South Seas, were 
the matters now chiefly laid upon his heart. On these he 
pleaded with the Missionary Committee and the English 
Methodists during his furlough. He was to return to the South 
Seas as Missionary to New Zealand ; there will be little more 
to say about his doings in Australia. For a few months Walter 
Lawry was left without a colleague. But two recruits were on 
their way to New South Wales, while Leigh was returning. 
The first to appear was Benjamin Carvosso, who landed in May ; 
and Ralph Mansfield arrived in September of the same year. 
These were men well suited to carry forward Leigh's work and 
to ' water ' what he had ' planted.' The first of the two, who 
entered the ministry in 1814 and was Lawry's senior, bore 
worthily an honoured name. His father was William Carvosso, 
the Cornish revivalist and saint, whose Life (written by his son) 
was formerly a treasured piece of Wesleyan biography. Car- 
vosso laboured in the colonies ten years, and then returned to 
England, where he ' travelled ' with great acceptance till his 
death in 1854. Grave and restrained in manner, Benjamin 
Carvosso presented a fine example of fidelity and sanctity. A 
devoted pastor, he cared wisely and patiently for Christ's flock ; 
if not so extensive as those of some of his fellow workers, his 
labours produced a deep attachment to Methodism in the 
circles where he moved. He had some literary faculty, and 
was the chief beginner of the Australian Magazine, the earliest 
Methodist periodical and the earliest literary journal on the 
continent, which made a successful debut. Carvosso's removal, 
through loss of health, was a misfortune to the Australian 
Church, and happened just when such a man could be least 



spared. Most of his term in the colonies was spent in Tasmania, 
where we shall meet him again. 

Ralph Mansfield was a probationer of two years' standing 
when he arrived in Australia. In point of education and of 
eloquence he was superior to any of his predecessors in the 
field, and great things were expected of him. Possessed, more- 
over, of personal charm and an excellent disposition, and 
earnestly devoted to his work, he became at once a favourite 
in Australia, and set out with every promise of usefulness. 
But the trials befalling the New South Wales Mission during 
the twenties proved too much for this sensitive and high-strung 
young man, who, with all his winning qualities, was apt to be 
disputatious and exacting. In 1825 he retired from the 
ministry, under circumstances that will afterwards appear, to 
the regret both of Ministers and people. He devoted himself to 
journalism, a profession then in its infancy in Australia, which 
offered an inviting career to a man of Mansfield's accomplish- 
ments and convictions. He retained his attachment to 
Methodism, and rendered good service in later years to the 
public fife of the rising city of Sydney. On their arrival 
Carvosso was stationed at Windsor, while Mansfield remained 
at Sydney to assist Lawry. A second Circuit was thus created. 

In September, 1821, Leigh returned from England with 
restored health, appearing at Sydney, however, only to make 
preparations for the New Zealand enterprise. He brought 
from home a wife, ready to share the dangers of the adventure 
amongst cannibals. Two missionary recruits for Australia 
came in the same vessel. One of these was William Horton, a 
volunteer enlisted through hearing Leigh's appeal for help in 
England. Him Leigh had left behind, by request, at Hobart 
Town — a post now ripe for occupation. Preaching here 
previously on their way to Sydney, Mansfield and Carvosso had 
found ' an effectual door ' open for the Gospel. From this 
time Van Diemen's Land became a regular, and, on the whole, 
remarkably fruitful, Circuit of the Mission. Leigh's other 
companion, William Walker — also a young man of marked 
ability and high character, who had been first designated for 
the newly commenced Mission on the River Gambia — was sent 
by the Missionary Committee with a view to devote himself to 
the ' Black Natives ' of Australia, for whose salvation Richard 
Watson, in particular, had shown great concern. Both the 


new-comers came to be involved in the troubles which speedily 
came upon the New South Wales Mission ; we shall have more 
to say about them in the sequel. 

Simultaneously with Leigh's appointment to New Zealand, 
Lawry was detached to begin work in the Friendly Islands, to 
which he sailed in June, 1822 ; for some time he had been 
urging an attempt in this direction. George Erskine, one of 
Dr. Coke's chosen band of 1813, who had proved wanting in 
linguistic capacity, was transferred from Ceylon to fill the 
vacancy thus created. These arrangements appear in the 
Stations for 1820 ; they took effect in the following year (1821- 
22), when Mansfield, in addition to Carvosso, arrived, and 
Erskine came on the scene. The last-named, an Irishman by 
origin, was of twelve years' standing in the ministry, and 
considerably senior to the members of the staff that he now 
joined ; it was hoped he would prove an efficient director of the 
New South Wales Mission. For the present Samuel Leigh was 
gazetted as ' General Superintendent ' in the Polynesian area ; 
but it was impossible for him to control the Australian Circuits 
from his distant outpost. The next year (1822) saw Erskine 
promoted to be General Superintendent for New South Wales 
and Van Diemen's Land, Leigh's jurisdiction being confined to 
New Zealand and the Friendly Islands. In these redistribu- 
tions, and in the divergence between Leigh and his brethren 
and the change of policy in Australia consequent on his 
departure, lay the beginning of trouble. The Missionaries left 
behind in Australia on the removal of Leigh and Lawry were 
complete novices. 

In the year 1820 a local branch of the Missionary Society was 
formed. The first missionary meeting held in the Southern 
Hemisphere took place in the newly opened Macquarie Street 
Chapel on October 1, 1821, in anticipation of Leigh's sailing 
for New Zealand. This was a gathering of extraordinary 
interest, and gave a signal demonstration of the esteem in 
which the departing Missionary, who occupied the chair, was 
held. Magistrates and public men from all parts of the colony 
were there to testify their approval, and to bid Samuel Leigh 
God-speed. The report read at the meeting announced the 
sum of £236 contributed to the Auxiliary Missionary Fund 
during the first year of its existence. The most affecting 
incident of the occasion was the contribution and speech of 


John Lees of Castlereagh, who had ' come down in his jolting 
cart thirty-five miles.' To the astonishment of those who 
knew his narrow circumstances and large family, he stood up 
and said, as the list of subscriptions was being completed : 
' Mr. Secretary, put me down for six guineas ! ' The pro- 
ceedings were arrested by this outburst, and the Secretary 
hesitated to enter so large a sum, when the donor, seeing the 
cause of the embarrassment, rose again, and with flowing tears 
and in broken accents spoke of his obligations, on his own 
account and on that of his family, to his God and Saviour. 
This meeting put the crown on Leigh's early work in New 
South Wales. 

The returns of 1821 show five Missionaries at work in 
Australia — three in the Circuit of ' Sydney, Parramatta, and 
Windsor ' (the two last-named being reincluded in the Sydney 
Mission) , and one in Van Diemen's Land. The Church member- 
ship of the older Circuit was returned as 113, of the newer as 28. 
These figures appeared but slender in proportion to the staff 
employed, the extent of ground occupied, and the Mission 
plant secured. But in a population of the peculiar nature 
found in this colony settled Church membership was of slow 
growth ; and the pioneer Preachers did well to scatter the seed 
of the Gospel as widely as they might. The success achieved, 
and the vantage-ground won in the colony, was much more 
considerable than the numerical report represents. A 
marvellous work had been accomplished in five years, chiefly 
through the martyr-like toil of Samuel Leigh. 




A Ground of Contention — Walter Lawry — Financial Difficulties — 
Candidates for the Ministry — Erskine's Chairmanship — Arrival of 
Joseph Orton — New Mission Stations — Daniel James Draper — State 
Aid for Missionaries — Increase of Immigration — Appointment of 
W. B. Boyce. 

With Samuel Leigh's departure for England trouble began 
for infant Methodism in New South Wales. Walter Lawry 
and he — both ardent and impulsive men — suffered from a 
certain incompatibility, and the differences between them 
widened into a cleft in the Mission itself. Though he won 
golden opinions from Australian officials and the general public, 
Leigh's relations to his missionary colleagues were never quite 
happy ; and the lack of cordiality is fatal to Methodism. He 
seems to have been a man who worked best alone. When he 
had fought single-handed the first battles of Methodism in the 
colony, when he had cleared the ground and laid the foundations 
of his Church's work in this rough field, it was hard for him to 
see others building thereupon in a style at variance with his 
own. He did not readily consult with juniors nor bow to the 
majority ; and there appears to have been a natural aloofness 
and sharpness of temper in him, aggravated by failing health, 
which made him ' difficult to get on with.' 

The ground of contention in early Australian Methodism lay 
in the relations of the latter to the Church of England. Samuel 
Leigh was, by breeding and conviction, what was called a 
' Church Methodist,' loving Anglican ways and inclined, 
wherever it was possible, to co-operate with the clergy and to 
avoid offending them. He had come to New South Wales in 
response to a summons which deprecated encroachment on the 
privileges of the Established Church. Instructions to this 
effect were given to Leigh when he received his commission ; 
he strictly adhered to them by never preaching during ' Church 



hours ' in Sydney or where Anglican services were held, and 
by refraining from the administration of the Sacraments in 
places where the clergy officiated. In acting thus he was 
following the older Wesley an usage. The personal kindness of 
Marsden, the senior Colonial Chaplain, who had treated Leigh 
like a father and in many ways furthered his work, and the 
brotherliness and evangelical spirit of more than one of the 
younger clergy, gave them strong claims on his respect and 

La wry, on the other hand, was a Cornish Methodist of the 
uncompromising type. In his county the old Church was of 
comparatively ill repute, and Methodism had grown up, for the 
most part, in separation from her. Lawry's prepossessions 
were much against deference to Anglicanism ; and he found 
many of his way of thinking amongst the Societies of Sydney 
and the other towns. To him Leigh's policy seemed a ' truck- 
ling to the clergy ' ; the influence the latter had gained in the 
colony by this means his young colleague regarded as dearly 
won by the sacrifice of independence, and as prejudicial to the 
future of Methodism. By this date the rule maintained by 
John Wesley during his lifetime — that Methodists should hold 
no services in Church hours, and should, wherever they were 
permitted, ' communicate ' at the parish church — was generally 
obsolete. ' The Plan of Pacification,' adopted by the Confer- 
ence of 1797, provided for the Preachers administering the 
Sacraments in their own chapels at their people's desire ; and 
the Methodist Society had assumed at home the character of a 
self-complete Church of Christ, asserting de jure the status it 
had long possessed de facto. Lawry and his friends felt them- 
selves bound in duty to their Church to vindicate this position 
in the colony, and not to allow Methodism to be treated as 
handmaid to the Church of England. It seemed to them 
unjust to their people and to themselves to forgo the proper 
hours of worship on the Lord's day, and the enjoyment within 
their own brotherhood of the essential Christian rites, for the 
advantage of a Communion to which the majority of them felt 
no attachment or obligation. On the other side, Leigh, whose 
views were shared by a number of the older and more influential 
laymen, held to the understanding upon which the Mission had 
been started. He felt that it would be a breach of faith on 
his part, and an act of ingratitude toward Marsden and the 


Governor of the colony, who had shown the Methodists a hearty 
and liberal friendship, to assume toward the Church of England 
an attitude of rivalry. 

The question of the holding of Methodist services in Church 
hours had been early raised in Sydney, and the difference of 
opinion amongst the Missionaries on this and the connected 
matters soon became apparent. But the restriction was not 
broken down until Leigh left the colony for England in 1820. 
The younger men who arrived on the field at that time — 
Carvosso and Mansfield — took Lawry's side in the dispute. 
They chafed against the disparagement put by the conserva- 
tive policy upon their ministry ; they saw no reason why 
Methodism in the colony should wear a yoke of bondage intoler- 
able in England ; they regarded the question as settled in 
principle by the ' Plan of Pacification.' The three young 
Ministers drew up a resolution stating their intention to hold 
morning service in Sydney at the most convenient hour, and 
to dispense the Sacraments in accordance with the desire 
expressed by the officers of the Societies. Time was on the 
side of the party of liberty ; with patience they would inevit- 
ably have had their way. Their mistake was — it was the first 
of several of the like kind — to take the law into their own hands, 
making this important change of policy on their own judge- 
ment, instead of consulting the authorities in England, under 
whose direction they had placed themselves. Francis Asbury's 
caution and restraint, under circumstances of a parallel but 
still more trying nature, afford an instructive contrast to the 
action of the headstrong Australian pioneers. 1 

Resentment was at once excited. Leigh's friends in Sydney 
wrote to him indignantly, and a formal complaint was lodged 
at the Mission House by the Rev. William Cowper, M.A. (after- 
wards Dean Cowper), one of the Anglican chaplains, which the 
Committee took very seriously. * Leigh testified outspokenly 
against his brethren, regarding the step they had taken as rash 
and compromising to the honour of Methodism. A sharp 

1 Cf. above, Vol I., p. 238. 

1 The holding of rival Sunday Schools was also matter of complaint in Cowper's 
letter to the Missionary Committee. The accused Missionaries defended themselves 
by showing that with the growth of Sydney there was ample room and need for both 
Churches, and that simultaneous worship did not rob the Anglican Church, but 
multiplied the number of worshippers. They complain at the same time of acts of 
rivalry and proselytism on the other side. Carvosso reflected severely on Cowper for 
accusing the Methodists by letter to England, while professing warm friendship 
towards them in Sydney. 


reprimand was at once sent out from Hatton Garden, the 
Secretaries not waiting to hear the other side. When their 
turn came to reply the Missionaries, far from confessing a fault, 
took the position of men wronged by being condemned unheard ; 
and on the receipt of Lawry's explanations and defence, 
accompanied by a petition from the Methodist lay officers in 
Sydney representing the wishes of the people for Church 
freedom, it was seen that some injustice had been done, and the 
Committee, while not withdrawing the previous censure, was 
compelled to modify its terms. For both parties this was an 
awkward situation ; it proved the beginning of a controversy 
between the New South Wales Missionaries and the Mission 
House which continued to the end of the twenties. 

When Leigh returned to the colony in 1821, spending some 
months there on his way to New Zealand, the contention about 
Methodist nonconformity was running high in Sydney. He 
found himself alone amongst his brethren, and publicly dis- 
sociated himself from their policy by refusing to take appoint- 
ments that involved the holding of worship in chapel during 
' Church ' hours or Sacramental administration within ' Church * 
parishes. The other Preachers regarded this refusal as disloyal, 
and took some collective action respecting it which, in sending 
his report to the Committee at home, he described as ' putting ' 
him ' on his trial/ Blame was now dealt out to both parties. 
Lawry and his allies were directed to ' cultivate a spirit of 
deference toward the clergy.' Leigh was disapproved for 
neglecting to consult his brethren and acting in disregard of 
their views and wishes. 

Leigh removed to New Zealand, and Lawry to the Friendly 
Islands in 1822. But until Erskine's appointment the former 
was still officially connected as General Superintendent with 
the Australian Circuits, and continued his protest against the 
' Dissenting ' ' policy. Each incoming Missionary ranged 
himself with those on the ground ; and the little knot of Church 
Methodists amongst the laymen were left more and more in 
the minority as fresh immigrants arrived, and as new converts 
acceded who regarded Methodism as their spiritual mother. 
Leigh and his partisans remained unyielding, regarding their 
honour as concerned in the observance of the tacit compact at 
first established with the Anglicans, and ascribing the success of 
the Mission in its earliest days to the goodwill secured by 


conciliation toward the mother Church. Leigh possessed a 
great and well-deserved influence in the colony ; so long as he 
persisted in the contest it was bound to continue. 

The disputatiousness and party spirit engendered by this 
strife arrested the advance of Methodism and lowered its reputa- 
tion in the colony. While the able preaching of the new men 
attracted hearers, conversions became few and the Societies 
ceased to grow. Fault was found with the younger Missionaries, 
apparently with some reason, for tying themselves to the town 
congregations and neglecting to itinerate amongst the outlying 
settlements. 1 The area of Methodist work no longer extended 
as it had done during the first five years of the Mission. 

When, from any cause, strife becomes chronic in a Church, 
and the indwelling Spirit is once grieved, aggravating circum- 
stances are sure to occur ; the sore is inflamed by every chance 
irritation. The expenses of the Mission alarmed the home 
authorities ; and in the letter of reproof addressed early in 1822 
to Lawry, Carvosso, and Mansfield for their behaviour toward 
the Church of England, they are taken to task also upon this 
score ; certain items of personal expenditure are pointed out 
which were open to strong objection. Had the young 
Missionaries been ever so prudent and managing, trouble could 
not fail to arise in money matters. The local contribution to 
the support of its agents which the Missionary Committee had 
been led to expect was forthcoming in scant measure ; the New 
South Wales Societies were numerically small and poor in 
worldly means. Much missionary labour was spent on prison 
work, which brought no remuneration, and on the ex-convict 
stratum of the population, who were slow to acquire habits of 
industry and thrift, and contributed little to the support of 
their Ministers. The price of articles of common necessity 
ruled excessively high, for colonial production was undeveloped, 
and importation to the Antipodes was costly. In the case of 
the Australian, as in that of the Ceylonese Mission, the 
maintenance charges of the Missionaries had been greatly 
underestimated, and the figures reported from the field upset 
the calculations of home financiers. The trouble was partly 
due to the newness of the business. The administration both 
at home and in the foreign field was in the experimental stage. 
Sound methods of financial control had to be created. Mistakes 

1 Asbury had blamed Boardman and Pilmoor in America on the same ground. 


were made in money matters by the agents abroad, many of 
whom had little or no previous business training ; and made, 
sometimes, doubtless by Secretaries and men of Committee at 
home, dealing as they were with foreign conditions, judged at 
a distance and from imperfect data. 

The discussion between Australia and Hatton Garden on 
this topic was acute from the beginning ; it was some years 
before a proper understanding was reached. 1 The Missionaries 
met the surprise and displeasure of the home Committee with 
indignation at the reproaches they suffered. A price list for 
provisions was sent by Carvosso to the Mission House, which 
is an interesting economic document. The Missionaries must, 
on the whole, be acquitted of the charge of extravagance 
roundly made against them in the correspondence. At the 
same time their letters on the subject make an impression not 
altogether pleasant ; they exhibit a tone in regard to tem- 
poralities which compares unfavourably with that of their 
Canadian contemporaries in missionary service, who threw 
themselves on the scanty support afforded by the colonists 
with a fine indifference to personal comfort and social dignity. 
The intercourse of the first comers in this Mission with the 
clergy and official classes, and the fact that poverty in Australia 
was commonly associated with degraded habits, made a differ- 
ence here. A certain respectability and decent style were 
regarded as essential to the ministerial calling in Australia, 
such as the rough-and-ready American pioneer gladly dispensed 
with, or even despised. 

The Missionaries, after stating their case and giving statistics 
to prove the heavy cost of living in the colony, submitted their 
plea to the judgement of the Committee, promising to accept 
whatever rate of allowances it should upon full information 
assign to them ; but when the decision was given, and they 
found but a' slight addition made to the sum previously made, 
they demurred and renewed the appeal. The climax of this 
painful discussion was reached when at the first District Synod 
of New South Wales, held in January, 1826, the Missionaries 
took the high-handed measure of voting to themselves 

1 It must be remembered that letters took sometimes six months on the way 
between England and the South Seas ; the long delay made home control and mutual 
understanding most difficult to preserve. In many cases, even of an important 
nature, it was impossible to wait twelve months for a reply from England. Emer- 
gencies arose, perhaps, involving heavy expense, on which an earlier decision was 


allowances increased by 14 per cent. 1 About the same time 
they chartered a vessel, at the cost of £250, to convey a new 
Missionary of their own selection to Tonga with outfit and sup- 
plies for a year, and sent the bill to Hatton Garden ! Mean- 
while it came to light that £1,000 had been borrowed on the 
credit of the Missionary Society to build the Macquarie Street 
Chapel in Sydney. In one way and another the drafts of the 
home exchequer from Sydney for six months' expenditure, on the 
part of four Missionaries, amounted to £2,606 ! These reckless 
spendings had to be stopped forthwith ; they portended 
nothing short of ruin to the Missionary Society. The 
Treasurers were instructed to dishonour the Australian bills. 

Still a third cause of dispute arose out of the doings of the 
first Synod. The London Committee had urged the Mis- 
sionaries here, as in the American Districts, to seek out suitable 
assistants and to labour for the raising up, as soon as might be, 
of a colonial ministry, so that the Missionary Society might have 
its hands free for its work amongst the heathen. The Australian 
Preachers appeared to regard this direction as empowering them 
on emergency to commission their own candidates. There were 
several eligible young men in view at this time in the District. 
Two of these were brought forward in the regular way, their 
names and qualifications, and the proposals respecting them, 
being submitted to the Committee and Conference at home. 
One of the two was usefully employed for nine years in Tonga 
and in the colonies, but proved afterwards unfaithful. The 
second was sent to resume the Mission to ' the Black Natives,' 
from which William Walker had been dismissed ; his name, 
however, figures on the stations for only a single year. The case 
of the third occasioned considerable friction. In the first place 
he was a married man with three children, and his acceptance 
by the Synod was therefore irregular, although he was reported 
to have the means to maintain his family ; but, worse than this, 
he was a doubter regarding the Eternal Sonship of Christ, and the 
Conference, perturbed by the controversy which arose from the 
defective teaching of Dr. Adam Clarke, had expressly precluded 
the admission of any candidate for the ministry unsound upon 

x The Synod considered itself to be acting constitutionally, since it was endorsing 
the proposals of the Quarterly Meetings to this effect, and the Quarterly Meetings 
in the Home Connexion determine the amount of their Ministers' stipend. It 
ignored the vital difference that the New South Wales Circuits supplied only a 
fraction of the Missionaries' allowances. 


this question. The action of the New South Wales Synod, 
taken in disregard of the above ruling, was strongly reprobated. 
The fourth candidature has already been alluded to. A young 
naval officer named Weiss, of high character and ability, 
offered himself for work in the Friendly Islands, for which his 
training made him particularly eligible. 1 But three mistakes 
were made in his acceptance. He was allowed, in contravention 
of the rules for probationers, to marry at once (this was probably 
desired in view of his destination) ; further, he was appointed 
to the Friendly Islands Station, over which the Australian 
Synod had no jurisdiction ; and in his dispatch and equipment 
a heavy expense was laid upon the Missionary Committee, 
without reference made to that body or permission given. The 
act was one subversive of all discipline, and entailed drastic 
consequences. Weiss had the mortification on arriving at 
Tonga of being requested to return home — his senders had 
been in too great haste to make sure of his reception. * On 
hearing of the liberty which the New South Wales Synod had 
taken, the Missionary Committee disowned the appointment 
and held the men who had made it personally answerable for 
the debt incurred. The doings of the first Australian Synod 
are unique in our missionary history, and in the record of 
Methodist District administration. 

Yet another provocation, of a more pardonable nature, 
was given to the Mission House from this quarter by the 
unauthorized commencement of the Australian Magazine. 
Carvosso was the chief mover in this experiment. Lawry, 
Mansfield, and he had written home in 1821 asking permission 
for their literary venture. They were strongly discouraged, in 
terms intended by the Secretaries to be taken as a veto, being 
told that they had plenty to do without dabbling in journalism, 
and must mind their proper work as Preachers of the Gospel. 
The Magazine appeared nevertheless, and was well received. 
The first Christian publication of the kind in the colony, it 

1 This excellent man, after his return from Tonga, entered into business in 
Sydney, and served his Church very usefully and faithfully in lay offices until his 
death in 1872. 

2 The Tongan Mission, commenced three years earlier by Lawry, who had been 
compelled to leave, was in great straits and had appealed to Sydney for help. When 
Weiss arrived, the hopes of the Missionaries were at a low ebb — indeed, the Mission 
was actually suspended for several months. It was through this despondency, and 
not because they considered the action of their Australian brethren to be ultra vires, 
that they declined the helper sent them. The N.S.W. Synod regarded the emergency 
as one that brooked no delay ; hence their precipitate action. 


supplied a felt want, and would probably have gained a lasting 
success. Learning that the young Missionaries had launched 
their little craft, the Committee arrested its course by a 
peremptory order, attended with sharp reproof. It may be 
questioned whether the suppression was well judged. The 
same jealousy showed itself later toward the budding Methodist 
journalism of British North America. Few things were more 
important than that the literary life of the colonies should 
receive a religious impress from the outset. And in Carvosso 
and Mansfield Australian Methodism appeared to have men 
with the ability and the aspiration to give the right stamp to 
this new birth. The repression was bitterly felt. 

The two pioneers in New South Wales had no official 
responsibility for the troubles last described. Leigh's superin- 
tendency of the work in Australia ceased with the appoint- 
ment of George Erskine. He returned from New Zealand 
in 1825 broken in health, and ' sat down ' for twelve months. 
On resuming work, he ' travelled ' the Paramatta and Sydney 
Circuits ; but his old vigour was gone, the Samuel Leigh of ten 
years earlier could hardly be recognized. Crushed by the loss 
of his wife, who died in 1831, he returned to England, and after 
two years' rest found a place in the home ministry, which he 
filled usefully until his final retirement in 1845. Despite 
great infirmity, he continued to plead the missionary cause 
with fervour and effect up and down the country, and expired 
on this service in the year 1851, in the sixty-sixth year of his 

Erskine's chairmanship of ' New South Wales ' (including 
Van Diemen's Land), which was raised to District status at 
this time, dates officially from 1823, though the first regular 
Synod was not held until two years later. Reference has 
already been made to his previous career. His experience and 
length of service led the Missionary Committee to expect 
competence for the duties to which he was now called. He 
was a conscientious and amiable man, of some mark as a 
Preacher, and not without business qualifications ; but he 
proved lacking in judgement and weak in authority ; and the 
crisis which had overtaken the New South Wales Mission was 
too much for him. Instead of controlling the high-spirited 
young men over whom he was placed, Erskine let himself be 
ruled by them, and was justly held responsible for the resultant 


mistakes and for the unhappy condition to which the District 
was reduced. The strain in which he had written concerning 
his earlier sphere of labour might have warned the Committee 
against entrusting any formidable task to a man who had been 
so thoroughly daunted : 

Had I known this Mission at first as I do now, nothing beneath the 
heavens would have been an adequate inducement to bring me to Ceylon. 
I anticipate deliverance from painful trials by a deliverance from this 
Mission, either by death or whatever seems best to Infinite Wisdom. 

It was hoped, no doubt, that change of climate would restore 
the disheartened brother's courage ; but he came to Australia 
suffering from an asthmatic affection which never left him. His 
strength was unequal to the fatigues of colonial work, while his 
spirit was unfitted to cope with its adverse conditions. Talent 
and zeal and powers of initiative were not wanting in the staff 
under Erskine's direction, but the directing mind and modera- 
ting hand, the fatherfy dignity and discipline, were not to be 
seen in their Chairman. 

The disputes and irregularities we have touched upon, 
operating with cumulative force from the year 1820 onwards, 
were calamitous in their effect. The returns for 1820 showed 
83 Church members in the Sydney Circuit ; ten years later but 
103 were found in the three Circuits of New South Wales (with 
46 besides in Van Diemen's Land), on ground where four 
Ministers had continuously laboured, three at least of them 
being Preachers of popular gifts. The bickering between 
Leigh and the other Missionaries, followed by the slack adminis- 
tration of Erskine, brought the Methodist cause into disrespect 
with the colonial public. Australia had become the despair 
of the Missionary Committee — ' the only Mission,' said Richard 
Watson, ' which has been a disgrace to us.' From 1825 
onwards the censures of Hatton Garden became increasingly 
stern, losing nothing of their pungency by coming through 
Watson's polished pen. By the end of the twenties the 
ministerial staff was completely broken up. William Walker, 
' a Preacher of extraordinary power, with abilities far above 
the average,' was the first on whom judgement fell. A 
protege of Watson's, and first sent out to the Gambia, he had 
been chosen to mission the Australian Aborigines. He had 
entered on this most difficult task with zest, and his plans were 


excellent. But the Australian wife he married brought him 
property in land and farming-stock, which (it was said) diverted 
him from missionary duty. His brethren in the colony 
remonstrated, and suspended him from office on his refusing 
correction. The Conference finally dismissed him in 1825 for 
having ' improperly entangled himself with the affairs of this 
life.' 1 With his departure ' the Mission to the Black Natives ' 
in New South Wales fell through. Joseph Orton, who met him 
some years later, speaks of him as ' most certainly a clever man, 
injudiciously handled by those placed over him.' John 
Watsford, who knew him in youth, retained the highest regard 
for William Walker. 

William Horton was Secretary to the Synod, and bore much 
of the onus of the obnoxious proceedings of that body. The 
Missionary Committee rejected the claims of the staff to 
increased allowances ; more than this, it saddled the men 
concerned with the cost of Weiss's unauthorized excursion to 
Tonga, and with the debt incurred in building the Macquarie 
Street Chapel. * To the action of the Synod in Weiss's case the 
word ' criminal ' was applied. The exchange of letters that 
followed, spread over some two years of discussion, exaggerated 
the contention, until Horton, stung by the rebukes he suffered, 
resolved to go to England and meet the Committee face to face. 
Erskine and Carvosso warned him against doing this without 
permission given and provision made for the work he was 
leaving ; but he would not be stayed. He justified himself by 
a sentence from the London Secretaries to the effect that if the 
Missionaries could not five on the regular allowances, ' they 
may all come home together.' He told the Committee, when 
he arrived, that he had taken them. at their word ! The situa- 
tion was inflamed still more by a circular which Horton saw fit 
to publish in Sydney, explaining his departure, in which he 
reviewed the history of the case and animadverted in dis- 
respectful terms on the British Missionary authorities. This 

1 Walter Lawry had contracted a similar marriage (his wife and Walker's were 
sisters), and his conduct was challenged, on the same account. Being in England 
when the charge was made, he defended himself before the Missionary Committee. 
He escaped, people said, through the good fortune of being able to make his apology in 
person, while Walker was condemned in absence. But there appears to have been 
a difference between the behaviour of the two men. All the same, the Missionary 
Committee was apt to be biased in favour of the advocate who stood before them, 
where letters from a distance left them cold. This had been shown, to Lawry's 
disadvantage, in the dispute between him and Leigh. 

* Ultimately this obligation, contracted in the shape of a loan from Edward 
Eagar, was discharged by the Missionary Committee. 


crowning indiscretion was fatal to Horton's plea. The Com- 
mittee listened patiently to his defence of the action of the 
Synod, but they pronounced his self-exculpation to be unsatis- 
factory, and handed him over to the disciplinary courts of the 
Church. He was found guilty of gross and repeated indiscipline 
and sentenced to expulsion by the Conference of 1829. The 
sentence took effect in a thorough humbling and confession of 
fault, upon which he was restored to his place in the ministry. 
Remaining henceforth in the home work, William Horton 
pursued an exemplary course, and died in 1867 honoured and 
lamented. Under other advice and influences his career in the 
Mission Field might have been long and happy. 

Meanwhile, Ralph Mansfield had also withdrawn. The 
Missionary Committee summoned him home in 1828. Instead 
of complying, he resigned his commission, stating that he was 
compelled to this step by the impossibility of maintaining 
himself and his family ' on a footing equally respectable with 
our Preachers at home and essential to the ministerial character 
of this country,' and by the Missionary Committee's repudiation 
of the expenses incurred on its service, 1 imposing upon him 
debts that he neither could nor would discharge. He 
reproached the Committee with ' having broken one of the 
main conditions upon which I entered into their service, viz. to 
pay an affectionate regard to my wants and to afford them 
every reasonable and necessary supply.' He expressed himself 
without bitterness, and declared his purpose to abide by 
Methodism and to serve the cause of his Church to the best of 
his power as a Local Preacher and otherwise. Subsequent 
communications passed between Mansfield and the Mission 
House, in which he stated his readiness to return to the 
ministry, provided that he could be ' honourably received,' 
that the debts with which he had been unfairly taxed were 
remitted, and that he should be allowed to labour in England ; 
but the Committee was unrelenting. He remained, 
notwithstanding, a loyal Methodist layman to the end of his life. 

Erskine was retained at the head of affairs until 1831, when 
he was recalled, on account of ' the languishing state of the New 
South Wales Mission,' and his insufficiency ' for Mission work 
in general and for the duties of Chairman of the District in 
particular.' The sequel in his case has been already related. 

1 In the case of Mr. Weiss and in other particulars. 


Leigh returned to England about the same time, as Carvosso 
had done earlier, both through loss of health. On the Stations 
of 1830 Erskine and Leigh appear as the sole Methodist Mis- 
sionaries in New South Wales — a couple of infirm and spent men. 
Carvosso laboured from 1826 to 1830, with fair success, in 
Van Diemen's Land, and he seems to have had little share in 
the misdemeanours of the New South Wales brethren. He 
undoubtedly held with them on the main question of ' allow- 
ances,' which came up again within a few years, when it was 
settled largely in the Missionaries' favour. Had this matter 
been raised in a different spirit and the case presented with 
moderation, an increase of stipend would, in all likelihood, have 
been granted at the prior application. Thus it came about 
that, by the year 1831, through disablement or discipline, the 
entire staff of the Australian Mission, as it existed ten years 
before, had disappeared ; a new beginning had to be made. 
Nathaniel Turner, who took charge of the Paramatta Circuit on 
his way to New Zealand and stayed for some years (in New 
South Wales or Tasmania) to fill the breach, writes that he 
found ' much, very much, to discourage and some things at 
which his heart sickened. Our Church in New South Wales 
was now a wreck, and the few faithful mourned for the desola- 
tion of Zion.' Methodist affairs in Australia had reached 
their lowest ebb. 

The turn of the tide came with the arrival of Joseph Orton, 
who was appointed the Superintendent of the Mission by the 
Conference of 1831. This young Minister, whose course dated 
only from 1825, had spent his missionary probation in Jamaica, 
where he had suffered severely in the persecutions of that 
period. Though this experience left a lasting mark upon his 
constitution, Orton's activity and energy of spirit were unim- 
paired. He undertook the new task with full knowledge of the 
situation and the lamentable condition into which the New 
South Wales District had fallen. But he was a man of sterling 
loyalty and resolution, of excellent judgement and of very 
tender and gracious disposition ; the Missionary Committee 
knew his worth, and gave him their hearty confidence. William 
Schofield — a steady, reliable worker, and a winner of souls — 
who had been sent out to the field in 1827, was there to support 
the new Chairman, who had, within his first year of office, to 
take measures against the one other colleague left to him from 



the former staff — a Preacher enlisted in the colony, who, in the 
Friendly Islands Mission for several years, ' ran well,' but on 
returning to Australia faltered in his course. William Simpson 
and John Allen Manton, both in the early years of their English 
probation, accompanied Orton to the Australian field ; these, 
along with Schofield and Nathaniel Turner, completed the list 
of his helpers. The five were sound preachers and good pastors ; 
they were one in heart and judgement ; and their chief was a 
man of leadership and spiritual power. William Simpson gave 
fourteen years of fruitful toil to Australia, ten of these spent in 
Van Diemen's Land. Manton was wedded for life to the 
colonies, and played a most worthy part in the great doings of 
the times that followed ; we shall meet him more than once 
in later pages. 

Despite all that had happened to divide and depress the 
Australian Societies a sound nucleus remained. The tradition 
of the early days of Leigh and Lawry was not forgotten ; and 
in Van Diemen's Land Carvosso's ministry had raised up a 
Church which, if not large, was well rooted and growing. 

Joseph Orton's first task was to use the pruning-knife. 
Small in numbers as the ministry and the Church membership 
of the District were, they had to be cut down to yet smaller 

The sore question of the Preachers' allowances compelled 
renewed attention. It was fully and temperately discussed, 
and a memorandum was forwarded to London from the Synod 
representing the case for a moderate addition to the amounts 
previously fixed, which had been found inadequate for the 
colonies. The statement concludes with the clause : 

The brethren . . . will not presume to make any additional charge 
until they Receive the sanction of the Committee. 

The respectful tone of this representation had its effect at head 
quarters ; an entry in the District Minutes for 1834 records 
thanks for an increase in the maintenance grants, and for the 
consideration shown in the matter by the Missionary Com- 
mittee, although it had not conceded everything the Synod 
solicited and a further request on the subject had to be made 
in the year following. The essential thing was that matters 
were placed on a proper footing between the Mission House at 
home and the Mission staff on the field ; dutifulness on the 


one part was met by confidence and cordiality upon the 

The affairs of the Mission now fell into a better train. Pastoral 
oversight was renewed, and the Methodist discipline, which had 
been largely in abeyance, was restored throughout the Circuits. 
Itinerancy was pursued with new vigour ; fresh preaching- 
places were sought out, and openings for the extension of the 
work multiplied as the Preachers sought them, and the con- 
fidence and affection of the people toward them increased. A 
promising local candidate for the ministry presenting himself, 
he was cautiously employed as a salaried Local Preacher first, 
pending the submission of his case to the Church at home. The 
state of the Mission property was investigated ; much of it was 
found to be secured in the names of the group of men who had 
now quitted the field. The rectification of this defect of title 
was gradually accomplished. Not until 1836 was the ' Model 
Deed,' as used in England, registered in the Supreme Court of 
New South Wales, placing the church buildings in the colony 
on a thoroughly satisfactory legal footing. 

Until about the middle of the thirties immigration into 
Australia, though continuous, had been comparatively slight. 
The extreme distance from England was a deterrent ; the 
penal character of the settlement, and the unhappy associations 
attaching to ' Botany Bay,' were still more forbidding. It was 
known that old convicts formed a preponderant part of the 
population, and stories of Australian crime and ruffianism were 
rife at home. On the other hand, the genial and salubrious 
climate, and the easy terms on which land was obtainable, 
proved inducements of increasing force. The downs west of 
Sydney, beyond the Blue Mountains, were found to be excel- 
lently adapted for sheep-farming upon a large scale ; Australia 
was evidently destined to become a wool-producing country, 
and capital was attracted in this direction with a view to the 
providing of this great staple of British manufactures. The 
tide of British colonization, now swelling to full volume, began 
to be diverted to an appreciable degree from the North Ameri- 
can to the Australian shores. This fact supplied Orton with a 
plea, which he urged soon after his arrival in a letter marked by 
his usual good sense and persuasiveness, for reinforcements. 
' Cares,' he says, ' are bound to increase as the colony rises in 
importance, and our Island Missions extend.' The last reference 


bears not only on Van Diemen's Land, which, distant as 
it was, still formed a part of the New South Wales District, but 
also on New Zealand and the Friendly Islands. For although 
the outlying Missions had their own separate jurisdiction, they 
were in constant intercourse with Sydney, the commercial base 
and rendezvous for all British operations in the South Seas. 
The Missionaries for these other fields, in going or returning, 
broke their voyage at Sydney, and their communications 
regularly passed through this port, so that the Superintendent 
Minister there had in many ways to look after their affairs. 

Orton's wider responsibilities did not prevent his enlarging 
the boundaries of the New South Wales Circuits and breaking 
fresh ground in the ever-growing colony. At Botany Bay, 
south of Sydney ; at Bathurst, which Leigh had visited in 1816, 
and where Methodist worship had been kept up, without help 
from any Minister ever since ; and at Springfield, about thirty 
miles beyond Bathurst westwards, where a Missionary was 
stationed in 1835, he set on foot regular preaching, and founded 
new Societies within a short time of his arrival. ' It is my 
practice,' he writes, with reference to his itinerations into the 
neglected or newly settled parts of the country, ' to officiate at 
the end of every daily stage, whether at an inn or a private 
establishment ; and on all such occasions every facility is 
afforded for assembling the people, who willingly come and 
thankfully receive the message of mercy.' 

Orton was one of those Preachers whose appearance and 
bearing commend the good tidings they bring. He refers 
pathetically to ' the road-parties and iron-gangs ' he met, con- 
sisting of prisoners condemned to penal labour for crimes com- 
mitted in the colony. ' They are interspersed,' he says, ' over 
the country in parties of from fifty to one hundred in number,' 
and ' are generally a most depraved set of men ' and ' most 
piteously neglected ' in point of religious instruction. ' They 
gave profound attention,' he reports, * wherever I have had the 
opportunity to address them, and ' in many instances were 
suffused with tears as they listened to the offers of Divine 
mercy ; plainly these chief of sinners were not irrevocably 
lost to feeling.' So speaks a true seeker of Christ's wandering 
sheep, eager to follow and find those that were lost. 

In 1835, a second Minister having been granted to Sydney, 
the Superintendent was able to visit the rising settlement of 


Maitland on Hunter's River, » situated above sixty miles north 
of the capital. This place became in a short time the centre of 
vigorous Methodist work. The impression which Orton made 
at Maitland was followed up by a zealous and able Irish Local 
Preacher named Jeremiah Ledsham, who made his home here 
in 1837. Finding the township without regular public worship, 
with the help of a Methodist cabinet-maker whom he discovered, 
he fitted up a disused billiard-room, which became the first 
house of prayer in that district . Ledsham preached on Sundays 
and conducted public prayer-meetings twice in the week. A 
Society-class was formed, by commission from the Sydney 
Ministers. The congregation grew rapidly. Soon a chapel 
was required, and £300 was contributed for the purpose on the 
spot. This sum was doubled by assistance from Sydney and 
elsewhere, and Methodism was housed in modest but fairly 
adequate fashion. Maitland remained a far outlying part of 
the Sydney Circuit till a Preacher could be spared for it. 
Jonathan Innes, newly sent out from England, was appointed 
here in 1840. Earlier, in 1835, Bathurst became a Circuit 
town — the first addition to the list of New South Wales Circuits 
for fifteen years. By this date the Methodist membership in 
the colony was returned as 212, of whom 130 belonged to 
Sydney — a small enough muster, but double the number Joseph 
Orton counted at his arrival. 

With the resuscitation of Methodism in the District the 
philanthropic agencies of Leigh's original programme, which 
had languished but never ceased, began to prosper once more. 
In addition, a ' Strangers' Friend Association ' was formed to 
assist immigrants, who landed too often penniless after their 
long voyage, and at a loss to find shelter and employment in a 
strange country. Also a Wesleyan Tract Society and a 
Wesley an Sunday School Union were launched, which became 
serviceable auxiliaries to the Church's work. She had to meet 
the needs of a city of whose population a large and increasing 
proportion was of a floating or nomad character ; and hither 
many wrecks of life drifted from British shores. 

In 1835 Orton was still in charge of the Sydney Circuit, 1 

1 Leigh had visited Newcastle, then a penal settlement where the convicts 
laboured in the coal-mines near the river-mouth. He had in vain begged far a 
Missionary on behalf of this derelict community. 

* He appears in the Stations for 1835 as designated to Hobart Town ; the trans- 
ference did not take effect till the next year. 


while Nathaniel Turner superintended the work in Van Diemen's 
Land. At this date the latter island was made into a separate 
District, Orton being detached for its Chairman. This was a 
more manageable field ; the toilsome New South Wales itiner- 
ancy, and the multiplied cares of the wider District, had told 
heavily upon a constitution previously damaged. The history 
of the new District will be taken up in the following chapter. 

John M' Kenny, who was the first Methodist Missionary sent 
to South Africa, and for many years subsequently had laboured 
fruitfully in Ceylon, was put in charge of Sydney and the New 
South Wales District, now confined to the colony of that name. 
Without his predecessor's peculiar intensity and tenderness of 
spirit, M' Kenny was an able and sensible and thoroughly 
conscientious man, courteous, dignified, and business-like in 
his official work, considerate for his colleagues, kindly and 
faithful toward his people. He kept the peace, and helped 
every man to do his best. He died in the colony in 1847, two 
years after laying down the office, which he had filled for ten 
years with so much credit. In leaving Sydney Orton spoke of 
' the racking anxiety ' he had there ■ endured on behalf of the 
Church,' and tells how he had ' commenced his labours with 
fear and trembling ' ; but, he adds, ' I had the gratification of 
seeing the Society trebled ' in four years, ' and with great 
reluctance left a most loving people.' A ministry like his 
makes a loving people. 

Two recruits from home joined the New South Wales forces 
at the time of M' Kenny's appointment, both men of high 
quality ; their accession raised the District staff from three to 
five, making it possible to occupy Bathurst, across the Blue 
Mountains. Daniel James Draper, whose first appointment was 
Parramatta, ranks amongst the master-builders of Australian 
Methodism. A south-country Englishman, ' of solid, self- 
cultivated mind, affectionate heart, generous disposition, 
genial spirit, and courteous demeanour, and of energetic, 
persevering action,' Draper came at the right moment ; more 
than any other single man, he helped to carry to its flood the 
tide of revived hope and enterprise which set in with Orton's 
administration. We shall meet his name again in South 
Australia. The whole of the Australian Church came to feel 
the force of his sterling character and his bold initiative, which 
was always sustained by sagacious planning and by 


indefatigable labour. He was one of the earliest Presidents of 
the Australasian Conference (1859) • Daniel Draper met bravely 
a tragic death in January, 1866, through the foundering of the 
steamship London in the Bay of Biscay, on board of which he 
was returning from an official visit to the British Conference. 

His companion in 1835 was Frederick Lewis, a Preacher of 
Welsh origin, without Draper's extraordinary administrative 
gifts, but ' full of fire and love.' Lewis was pre-eminent in 
the pulpit ; ' his ministry was wonderfully blessed in the con- 
version of sinners.' He, too, gave the strength of his days to 
the Australian work, which he only left in 1854, when 
compelled to become a supernumerary. 

Openings for extension now presented themselves on all 
sides ; urgent requests for Missionaries were made, especially by 
the northern and western counties, in which the colonial settle- 
ments were multiplying fast. The people were crying out 
for the Gospel ; the warmth of heart which characterized 
Methodism, its spiritual brotherhood, and the adaptable and 
unconventional form of its worship, commended it to colonial 
taste ; its system was excellently suited to the needs of a new 
country. But the four existing Circuits furnished work more than 
enough to occupy the scanty force upon the field. The renewed 
energy and success of the Mission on its older stations provoked 
demands to which small and slenderly-officered Churches could 
very partially respond. The relapse experienced in the 
twenties had prevented Methodism gathering the momentum 
which should have carried it forward along the whole line, now 
that the opportunity had come. Advances were made, how- 
ever, and the fist of Circuits lengthened from year to year. The 
occupation of Maitland has been already noted ; simultaneously 
a petition came from the Lower Hawkesbury Valley, nearer to 
Sydney, where 11,000 people were dwelling within a compass of 
sixty miles, nearly all of English and Protestant birth, with but 
a single Minister of religion serving amongst them. The 
residents promised £150 annually toward the support of a 
Wesleyan Missionary, but none was available. For the present 
the wants of this District could only be met, in a fashion more 
tantalizing than satisfying, by occasional visits from the distant 
Windsor Minister. In 1839 * ne first resident Preacher was 
stationed at ' Lower Hawkesbury ' : this was Samuel Wilkinson, 
another of the staunch men given by England to the Australian 


work in the later thirties. Living till 1899, this devoted 
Missionary bore through his long ministry an unblemished 
reputation, labouring with incessant diligence and living in 
the deep affection of the people. By 1840 the three original 
Circuits had become six, and the Church membership stood at 
308, more than half of this number belonging to the Sydney 
Circuit. The daughter district of Van Diemen's Land had 
far outrun her mother in this respect. By this time the newer 
Australian colonies claimed the attention of the Missionary 
Society. Already in the Stations of 1837 two Missionaries are 
assigned to Port Phillip, » where a fresh attempt was on foot to 
reach the Aborigines. Next year the name of William Long- 
bottom is attached to Swan River, in Western Australia ; but 
in 1839 Longbottom is found at Adelaide, and John Smithies 
was actually the pioneer Missionary of Swan River. These 
three remote posts, for the present, figure as Circuits in the New 
South Wales District ; each of them was the cradle of a great 
and widespreading Church, nursed in its infancy by the mother 
Mission of Sydney, herself up to this date of little more than 
childish growth and strength. 

Edward Sweetman, who had been designated to Sydney in 
1834, but was wrecked on the outward voyage and employed 
for a while in Gibraltar, commenced colonial work in 1839. 
Sweetman was a colleague worthy of the men introduced in the 
last few paragraphs ; he contributed with them to lift 
Methodism to the place of honour and enduring power it had 
gained in Australia by the middle of last century. He is 
described as ' one of nature's noblemen,' of ' grave and dignified 
mien, affable and courteous manners, deep and unaffected 
piety — a Preacher of a very superior order.' His utterance 
was deliberate, but marked by a wisdom and weight which 
' caused him to be regarded as an oracle.' Jonathan Innes, 
marked by his name as a Scotchman, the first Missionary put 
in charge at Hunter's River, exercised a ministry of twenty- 
four years in the colonies, approving himself as ' a sound 
theologian and an instructive Preacher.' The men who built 
up Australian Methodism during this period were not distin- 
guished by brilliant gifts, but rather by solid qualities of 
thought and character, by the thoroughness of their work, by 
their strict fidelity and hearty co-operation. 

1 In 'Australia Felix.' 


The foundations of the colony of New South Wales had been 
laid in material of the faultiest kind, and its criminal elements 
were being constantly reinforced by fresh importations from 
the British jails. Alarmed at the moral conditions resulting 
from this mode of colonizing, the Government in 1833 deter- 
mined to assist by State aid the introduction of Missionaries 
of all the recognized religious denominations. The Anglicans 
and Presbyterians, but especially the Roman Catholics, made 
much use of this invitation. » ! Within the last six months,' it 
was reported from Sydney a little later, ' no less than a dozen 
Roman priests have arrived, each of whom has received from 
the home Government the sum of £150 toward his outfit and 
passage.' The New South Wales Synod urged the Missionary 
Committee to seize the opportunity now afforded. The plea 
is echoed in the Annual Report of the Missionary Society for 
1840 : 

The progress of our Mission in this colony [it is said] has latterly been 
very considerable. New chapels are rising ; new Societies and Con- 
gregations are in course of formation ; and loud calls are made for 
additional Missionaries. 

M' Kenny is cited as reporting 

a wonderful change within the last two years . . . which appears not 
only by the increased attendance at Divine worship, but also by the 
general desire for religious instruction and pastoral care. 

He attributes this movement to ' the great number of religious 
people ' arriving as immigrants, as well as to 

the late stir that has been made in England and here respecting the 
religious interests of the convict population, leading the settlers 
generally to desire the instruction and moral improvement of their 
assigned servants.* 

In the Sydney chapels, he says, there have been for some time 
no sittings to let. It was a thousand pities that the response 
made by the Missionary Society to the challenge of the situation 
was so inadequate. The tide had come in the affairs of New 

1 The Congregationalists consistently refused to participate in this concurrent 
endowment, which was continued until State aid was withdrawn from all the Churches 
in New South Wales. The system was peculiar to this Colony. 

1 The custom had grown up of letting out the labour of the convicts, under bond 
to the Colonial farmers for a fixed period, or indenturing them as servants in some other 
capacity. This position was often the stepping-stone to freedom. To cunning 
criminals it afforded opportunities of escape. 


South Wales which, ' taken at the flood,' would surely have 
' led on to fortune.' The Roman Catholic, the Anglican, and 
to a less extent the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, seized the 
occasion to consolidate their position in the colony, while 
Methodism, which had been second in date of occupation, 
dropped behind in the race, and took thereafter the third place 
amongst the Protestant Churches of New South Wales, where 
it might and should have been in the very front. Unfortunately 
for Australia, pleas of like urgency were coming at this time 
from all the chief Mission Fields — from the West Indies and 
North America, from Africa South and West, and not least 
from the Missions to the heathen of the South Seas. The ten 
men the New South Wales Methodists asked for from home 
were not to be found. Four were appointed, who figured 
nominally as assigned to ' the New South Wales District ' ; 
but they were geographically as remote from the mother colony 
as mid-Europe or Russia from England. In apology for the 
failure of the Missionary Committee to meet the emergency, 
it should also be said that the progress of the New South Wales 
Circuits, while more satisfactory in recent years, was not yet 
such as to warrant sanguine hopes of their future. 

The strange names of Wollongong and Cowpastures appear 
on the list of Circuits for 1843, the former a coast town lying 
thirty or forty miles south of Sydney. These stations were the 
outcome of the restless itinerancy of William Schofieid, who 
took charge of the Sydney Circuit about the year 1840 ; they 
had been for some time ripe for occupation. An Irish Methodist 
family of the name of Black settled in this district. On landing 
at Sydney they had presented their tickets of Church member- 
ship, and the indefatigable Schofieid was soon on their track, 
reaching them at their new home in the autumn of 1839. Here, 
at Dapto, he found a Society of sixteen members already 
formed, who welcomed him with delight ; the promise of land 
for a chapel had also been secured. John Vidler, of this town- 
ship, who had started a Sunday school in his house, was 
elected Class-leader, and arrangements were made for regular 
preaching. At the following Synod it was reported : 

This part of the country is rapidly increasing in population, and 
demands the attention of the Committee. We have a class at Wol- 
longong [John Vidler's class] ; and numbers of immigrant Wesleyans 
are scattered over the District who are destitute of the means of grace . 


A little later the same Missionary writes : ' The prospects are 
flattering ; we have three Classes, and very important congre- 
gations.' Soon the chapel was raised, housing 200 worshippers, 
and the Society had grown to sixty-four. At this stage formal 
application was made for a Minister, but it was several years 
before the petition could be granted. This is a typical example 
of the planting of Methodism in the colonies. Out of the 
Wollongong Circuit, by the middle of the forties, the Camden 
Circuit had grown — this more elegant name replaced 
' Cowpastures.' 

The returns of Church membership for 1843 gave a total in 
the New South Wales Circuits of 938, more than trebling the 
number of three years earlier. The Sydney Circuit now con- 
tained a substantial church of 400 souls. The glowing anticipa- 
tions which the Synod had expressed in its letters to the Mission 
House already justified themselves ; Methodism in New South 
Wales at last was marching ; from this time forward its advance 
was rapid and sure. Had the home Church furnished the 
number of Missionary-captains required it might have been 
far wider. For lack of reapers the increase gathered in this 
season of ripeness, though considerable and gratifying, fell 
short of its possibilities. 

The District, however, in the hour of need made shift to help 
itself. The Stations of 1843 include the names of two 'assistant 
Missionaries,' sons of the Mission itself. One of these was John 
Watsford, the first Methodist Preacher born on Australian soil, 
who became an heroic Fijian pioneer. In his later years he 
was twice President of the Australian Conference, and stood 
out as chief amongst the fathers of his Church. He was a great 
soul-winner throughout his course, and a most convincing 
missionary advocate. Watsford's autobiography, entitled 
Glorious Gospel Triumphs, reveals the spirit and power of this 
prince of home-bred Australian evangelists. 

The second local probationer added to the ministry at this 
time was William Lightbody, who in his earlier days had 
travelled amongst the Irish Primitive Wesleyans. • Emigrating 
to New South Wales, he became a schoolmaster at Newcastle 

1 The Primitive Wesleyan Connexion of Ireland originated in a schism of ' Church 
Methodists,' who rejected the Plan of Pacification of 1797, and refused to recognize 
the separation of Methodism from the Established Church consummated by that in- 
strument. This small and select Communion was afterwards reunited to the main 
Wesleyan body. 


(N.S.W.), where he proved a most useful Wesleyan Local 
Preacher. Called to the ministry in 1844, Lightbody did good 
and sound service in difficult Circuits for many years, dying a 
supernumerary in 1879. One or two other young men were 
put on probation about the same date, but failed to proceed. 
After the misunderstandings and discouragements the District 
experienced in the cases of its early candidates during the 
twenties, the New South Wales Synod for many years was slow 
to make proposals of that nature. A provincial ministry was 
not reared in Australia with anything like the facility exhibited 
in Canada. 

Benjamin Hurst was a man of note in the missionary ranks 
who has not been mentioned hitherto. Appointed to Australia 
from England about the same time as Butters, Draper, and 
Lewis, he had been engaged for several years in the Mission to 
the Aborigines, which was founded at Buntingdale (near 
Melbourne) by way of resuming the abandoned work of William 
Walker. In 1842, when Schofield was transferred to the newly 
opened station of Melbourne, Hurst came to fill his place in 
New South Wales ; in that colony he laboured for ten years. 
A man of burning enthusiasm, his ministry was effective in a 
high degree ; he not only wrought nobly himself, but he raised 
up in all his Circuits zealous workers for the Church. Hurst 
came into the possession of a large property, the ownership of 
which did not diminish his ardour nor clog his activity, but 
gave him the means, which he used without stint, of helping 
his Church in its financial exigencies. 

The British Government, in the year 1840, after a series of 
petitions and remonstrances, which began to assume a 
dangerous tone, ceased to ship convicts to New South Wales ; 
the colony no Jonger served as a waste-heap for the moral refuse 
of the old country. 1 From this date emigrants of the better 
sort poured in abundantly ; the population of Sydney mounted 
up, * and the more accessible and cultivable lands of the interior 
were enclosed. Immense areas of the dry upland plains beyond 
the coastal range of the Blue Mountains were stocked with 
sheep, while the lower valleys sloping eastwards, which enjoyed 

1 Transportation to Australia, however, continued till 1865. Each Colony thus 
used protested in its turn, until with the growth of the free population the protest 
became too strong to remain unheeded. 

2 In 1848 the population of Sydney and its suburbs was estimated at 50,000. By 
this time there were ten Wesleyan chapels in and about the city. 


an abundant rainfall, became covered with corn and cattle and 
with fruitful orchards. Communication both by land and 
water was made easier and swifter, and New South Wales, 
throughout the area within fifty miles of Sydney, assumed the 
appearance of a thriving European province. The value of 
Australia to the mother country began to be realized ; discern- 
ing eyes foresaw the splendid future awaiting the island 
continent, and the immense contribution it was capable of 
making to the resources of the British Empire. 

These circumstances added force to the appeals of the 
Australian Mission for larger help, which had hitherto elicited 
a somewhat reluctant, not to say grudging, response. The 
belief prevailed amongst English Methodists that the colonists, 
living in a fertile country and obtaining land at an almost 
nominal price, were man for man decidedly better off than 
themselves. The funds raised for carrying the Gospel to the 
heathen, and contributed in great part by poor people with 
much sacrifice, ought not, it was argued, to be spent upon those 
who, if they cared, could well afford to pay for their own 
religious institutions. Men who hardened their hearts against 
colonial Missions by such reasonings failed to consider how 
very large a proportion of the emigrants to the colonies were 
driven to seek new homes through poverty, and for years had 
a hard struggle to gain their footing, and that land, however 
rich and however cheaply bought, can yield nothing till it is 
reclaimed. In course of time the settlers were sure to gain 
wealth, and to make their Churches self-supporting ; but 
meanwhile a generous subsidy was indispensable. 

The conflicting views and tendencies above indicated found 
expression in the appointment of William Binnington Boyce 
to supervise the Australian Methodist work, and in the instruc- 
tions given to him from Bishopsgate on his dispatch to this 
field. He was sent out in 1845 to occupy the Chair of the New 
South Wales District, residing at Sydney, in succession to John 
M' Kenny ; but he received a much wider charge, being 
designated ' General Superintendent of the Australian and 
Van Diemen's Land District.' The latter island now became 
a ' Section ' of the Australian province ; and over it first 
Nathaniel Turner and then M' Kenny were made 'Deputy 
Chairmen.' The oversight of a whole continent was a huge 
commission ; but Boyce, a Missionary statesman of no common 


order, was equal to it. The sending of a man of this calibre 
and reputation with powers so large, showed the sense enter- 
tained by the Missionary Society of the magnitude of the 
Australian problem ; it expressed at the same time the desire 
and purpose of home Methodism that this great work of God 
should become self-supporting. 

The Centenary of Methodism (1839) had been kept, with a 
good deal of demonstration, in New South Wales. Its financial 
proceeds were mainly spent upon the building in York Street, 
Sydney, of a new and worthier church, designed to replace 
the Macquarie Street edifice, which was unfavourably situated, 
and behind the times in style and furnishing. The York 
Street Centenary Chapel, which was opened in 1844, gave to 
the Methodist Church for the first time a commanding position 
and a visible dignity in the metropolis of Australia, suitable 
to its strength and character. In William B. Boyce Australian 
Methodism gained an ecclesiastical leader of corresponding 
mark and eminence. 



Van Diemen's Land — Benjamin Carvosso — Methodist Soldiers — 
Arrival of Samuel Leigh — Mansfield at Hobart Town — Methodism 
attacked — Sir George Arthur — William Butters — Joseph Orton ap- 
pointed Chairman — John Waterhouse — Educational Institutions — 
Horton College. 

The island of Tasmania lies south of Australia, being situate 
in relation to the mainland as the Isle of Wight toward Great 
Britain or Sicily toward Italy. Hobart, the chief town and 
port, stands near the southern apex, being distant 600 miles 
from Sydney. In area the country is above five-sixths the size 
of Ireland. The island enjoys a more equable climate than the 
neighbouring continent, its summers resembling those of 
England, while its winters are relatively warmer. It is full of 
natural beauty. Sharing in the agricultural and mineral 
wealth of Australia, Tasmania has been peopled in similar 
fashion ; historically and politically, it is an integral part of the 
Australian Commonwealth. 

Standing off, as it does, from the south of Australia, Tasmania 
lies in the track of eastward navigation from the Cape of Good 
Hope or from the Indies, so that it presented itself early to 
European sailors pushing their way toward the Pacific. The 
Dutch sea-captain Abel Jans Tasman, on his south-eastward 
voyage from Batavia (Java) in the year 1642, first sighted the 
shore. He landed here and made some exploration as he 
passed on his way to the greater discovery of New Zealand. 
Tasman named the country Van Diemen's Land, after the 
Dutch Governor of Batavia who had sent him on this expedi- 
tion. This awkward designation, in 1853, was changed by the 
British occupiers to Tasmania, in honour of the discoverer 
himself. In Tasman 's second voyage (1644) ne traced out 
great part of the northern, western, and southern coasts of 
Australia, to which the name of ' New Holland ' was given at 
this time in anticipation of Dutch possession. The Dutch 



adventurers, whose hands were occupied with their rich 
mercantile possessions in the East Indies, did no more than give 
names to New Holland, New Zealand, and Van Diemen's Land, 
which offered small inducements to the trader. It remained for 
Captain Cook to disclose the potential value of these regions of 
the Antipodes. 

Tasman did not follow the south coast far enough eastwards 
to perceive the gap separating the outlier from the mass of the 
continent, the existence of which was unsuspected until 1798, 
when Lieutenant Bass, setting out from Sydney, surveyed the 
south-eastern shores of Australia and circumnavigated Van 
Diemen's Land. Bass Strait preserves the name of this 
explorer, as Flinders Island, lying in the Strait, commemorates 
his companion, Captain Flinders. 

Tasmania came in this way to be associated with the New 
South Wales colony. Captain Cook had already touched here, 
in 1777, on his second voyage to New Zealand ; indeed, British 
ships making for the Pacific were bound to strike this coast. No 
maritime power settled on the eastern side of Australia could 
afford to see Tasmania in hostile occupation. It was not, 
however, till 1803 that the Governor of New South Wales, 
alarmed by the movements of the French in this direction, sent 
a force under Lieutenant Bowen — consisting in the first 
instance of eight soldiers, three civil officers, and twenty-five 
convicts — to seize the south of Van Diemen's Land. The 
slender company landed on the estuary of the River Derwent, 
near the head of Storm Bay, on the south-east of the island. 
Other detachments of convicts and soldiers were forwarded 
when the first party had secured a footing. In 1807 a much 
larger body of men was transferred hither from Port Phillip, on 
the mainland, where the position occupied had proved unsuit- 
able ; this contingent was under the command of a Colonel 
Collins, who founded Hobart Town, near the spot where Bowen 
had landed, naming the place after the British Colonial Secretary 
of that time. This proved an excellent site, for the purposes 
both of a naval port and of inland communication ; and Hobart 
remains to this day the capital of the island and its largest and 
most prosperous town. Collins was the first Lieutenant- 
Governor. In the same year a penal settlement was made, 
drawn from the overflow of New South Wales, at Port 
Dalrymple, on the north shore of the island by the mouth of the 


Tamar, which in a short time migrated up the river to a better 
situation. Such was the origin of Launceston, the second 
town of Van Diemen's Land. In 1806 the free colonists of 
Norfolk Island (lying out in the Pacific far east of Australia), 
which was required as a prison for incorrigible convicts, were 
transported to Tasmania, where they received valuable lands 
in the interior. In 1807 the colony suffered a severe dearth, 
from causes resembling those which had formerly brought the 
same calamity upon New South Wales. But Tasmania, 
helped by the experience of its elder sister, surmounted its 
difficulties, and made fairly rapid advance in order and 
industry. Free immigration during the early years took place 
here in larger proportion than in New South Wales, and the 
pernicious influences generated by convict colonization were 
never so much in the ascendant. In 1821, about the time of 
the first Methodist Missionary's landing, it is supposed there 
were 2,700 residents in Hobart, and perhaps 8,000 white people 
on the island. The majority of these were still under penal 

Although the government of Van Diemen's Land at no time 
fell into the disgraceful condition which prevailed for some 
years in New South Wales, the moral state of the colony, the 
larger part of whose constituency was of criminal origin, was 
similarly, if not so deeply, depraved. Even so late as 1831, 
when Nathaniel Turner, coming back to Hobart Town after 
nine years' absence, recognized that great strides had been 
made in moral and social improvement, he ' nevertheless found 
himself among a community whose general character was 
unlovely and unclean.' The majority of the servants, in all 
occupations, were indentured convicts hired by employers 
under contract with the Government, while many of the free 
labourers, and even tradesmen, were on ' ticket of leave.' The 
parents of the Hobart manse ' deeply felt for their children,' 
who ' breathed a tainted air,' and saw here ' more vice in a 
week than they had known in all their fives.' As at Sydney, 
so at Hobart, the first Anglican chaplain put in religious charge 
of the settlement was well meaning, but proved weak and 
inefficient. For nearly twenty years the colony had no other 
spiritual instructor. The second chaplain succeeding to this 
office was a man of God named William Bedford ; ' horrified 
at the prevalent drunkenness and indecency,' he ' wept, he 



raged, he prayed.' The officials, both of higher rank and 
lower, were most of them living in shameless sin : 

Against these he thundered in the church, which they were bound 
by etiquette to attend. He appealed to the executive. If a change of 
heart could not be secured, at least the outward shame of sin might be 

How, he asked, could he ' enforce the seventh commandment 
on the convicts, when they saw its open violation by their 
superiors ? ' Bedford's fearless rebukes and appeals, like 
those of Marsden at an earlier time in Sydney, were not in 
vain. He found a potent ally in Lieutenant-Governor Arthur, 
appointed in 1824, who, roused by Bedford's denunciations, 
took measures to suppress public immorality and to rid the 
Government service of its scandals. A struggle ensued 
between the Governor and chaplain, on one side, 
supported by the decent elements of the community including 
the band of Methodists gathered by this time, while on the 
other side stood the ring of profligate officers. Hard 
blows were struck on both sides ; but the Puritan party 
prevailed, and the public life of the infant colony was 
purged of the foulest of its offences. This battle for purity, 
fought by an heroic clergyman who was at first single-handed, 1 
gave an impetus to the cause of religion in the colony, and 
gained for the Anglican Church, as in New South Wales, a 
prestige greatly favourable to her subsequent progress. She 
numbers at the present time half the population of Tasmania 
as her own. 

Some years before the advent of Chaplain Bedford, while 
religion was at the lowest ebb, the first Methodist Preacher set 
foot in Tasmania. This was the young Missionary, Benjamin 
Carvosso, who landed at Hobart Town in May, 1820, en route 
for Sydney. He was allowed to preach in the yard of the 
Court-house, and also on Sunday to the prisoners. In this 
way he spent four days at Hobart, gathering congregations 
growingly large. The people, who suffered a famine of the 
Word of God, were loth to let him go. Carvosso reported at 
Sydney, and to the Missionary Society at home, the great need 
of Hobart Town, and its readiness to hear the Gospel. Ralph 
Mansfield, who followed Carvosso from England in August, 

1 William (known in later life as Dr.) Bedford, lived to a ripe age, and was 
honoured and revered throughout Tasmania. 


calling at Hobart, had a like experience. He was able to 
announce that a Missionary would soon be provided. * 

A month or two later a regimental company was removed 
from Sydney to Hobart Town, to which three Methodist 
soldiers belonged, one of these being Corporal George Waddy. ■ 
They discovered a civilian, by name Benjamin Nokes, of the 
same persuasion, whom they invited to be their Class-leader. 
A handful of others, who had been stirred by the preaching of 
Carvosso and Mansfield, joined the little band, and a class of 
eight members met at the house of Nokes in Collins Street. A 
week or two after this a Mr. Wallis, of Liverpool Street, offered 
them in his residence a room more convenient for preaching, 
where Corporal Waddy took the preacher's desk. Regular 
public worship was carried on here, despite much annoyance 
and some popular violence ; the preaching-room quickly 
became too strait for its congregation. The Society now 
migrated to a carpenter's shop, lent and fitted up for the pur- 
pose by Charles Donn (or Cranmer) *, a reformed convict, who 
with his wife — a woman who had deeply fallen — were amongst 
the first to attach themselves to the Methodist Society. Donn's 
carpentry-shed held 200 people ; he had to enlarge it for a con- 
gregation of 300. The Government protected the Methodists 
from the attempts of the Hobart mob to stop their worship ; 
and the congregation was still increasing, when, early in 1821, 
Waddy and his soldier-comrades were transferred to another 
convict-station in the island, leaving Benjamin Nokes alone 
to shepherd the little church gathered at Hobart Town. A 
Sunday school — the first in the island — was started in con- 
nexion with the Hobart Society in May. In the summer of 
1 82 1, Nokes, with a companion,- visited New Norfolk — a 
settlement of the Norfolk Islanders situated inland — and held 
services there. Plans were at once formed for building a 
Methodist chapel at this spot. Chaplain Bedford had by this 
time commenced his John-the-Baptist-like ministry at Hobart 

1 As early as 1817, Leigh, writing from Sydney, informed the Missionary Com- 
mittee of the situation in Hobart Town, and urged its speedy occupation. In the 
stations of 1820 Carvosso is actually designated for this post ; but he was required in 
New South Wales in consequence of Leigh's breakdown. 

2 This devoted man is said to have been a connexion of the eminent Methodist 
family of that name represented in the last generation by Dr. Samuel D. Waddy. 

* He claimed to be of the line of the famous Archbishop Cranmer, but changed 
his name after his conviction for crime. 


Town, and there was no small stir about matters of religion 
and public morals. 

So much had been accomplished toward the planting of 
Methodism within little more than a year of the appearance 
of the first Preacher ; and such was the condition of things in 
Tasmania when Samuel Leigh, returning from England to 
Sydney, landed at Hobart Town on August 8, 182 1. He was 
now commissioned to evangelize the Maoris of New Zealand ; 
at the same time he had been designated ' General Superin- 
tendent ' of Missions in the South Seas. In virtue of this 
authority he detached for service in Tasmania one of the two 
companions (William Horton and William Walker) bound 
along with him for New South Wales. He had the more right 
to do this as Carvosso had been already for two successive 
years (1820-1821) designated by the Conference for Hobart 
Town, but detained for Sydney ; it was the simpler course to 
drop Horton at Hobart, allowing Carvosso to stay on in New 
South Wales. 

William Horton laid good foundations during his two years' 
labour in Tasmania. For the second year he had the valuable 
assistance of Nathaniel Turner, who reached Hobart in May, 
1822, on his way to New Zealand, whither he found himself 
forbidden to proceed in consequence of the tribal war then 
raging. A horse was obtained from Sydney, by the use of 
which preaching-places were opened inland and an extensive 
Circuit formed. Regular visits were paid to the convict prison, 
where the Methodist ministry was greatly prized, and some 
wonderful conversions were effected through God's grace. 
Bedford was still the only clergyman in the island, and the 
work of chaplaincy amongst the thousands of prisoners, besides 
soldiers and civilians, was utterly beyond any single man's 
strength. When Horton took charge, a two-acre block of land 
had been already assigned by Governor Sorell (Arthur's prede- 
cessor) to the Methodists for the erection of a chapel in Hobart 
Town ; the location proving unsuitable it was exchanged for 
another plot in the middle of the town. Here building had 
been already commenced ; but as the £400 raised on the spot 
was insufficient, while the Missionary Committee could not 
furnish either grant or loan and Horton refused to contract a 
debt, the building was stopped with the walls half-raised. Not 
till four years later, in Mansfield's time, was its completion 


effected. Corporal (now Sergeant) Waddy had been removed 
from Hobart to the lonely prison station of Macquarie Harbour, 
on the western side of the island, to which place were drafted 
the felons convicted for further crime committed in the 
Colonies. Desperadoes most of these were, of a violent and 
repulsive type, and Macquarie Harbour was described as ' a 
veritable hell upon earth.' Here, however, Waddy succeeded 
in starting a Class-meeting, aided by occasional visits from 
the Hobart Missionary. Conversions were witnessed, and 
Methodism struck root in this terrible place. Sergeant Waddy 
left Macquarie Harbour, with the removal of his troop, in two 
or three years ; his work was continued in the first instance by 
John Hutchinson, sent as a Lay Agent from Hobart Town, who 
did such good service that he was promoted to the ministry, in 
whose ranks he laboured usefully, both in the colonies and the 
Friendly Islands, for a number of years. Much labour was 
spent upon this station, where little or no return in the way of 
establishing a Church could be expected, as reclaimed convicts 
were removed from Macquarie Harbour. Governor Arthur 
deeply interested himself in this Mission, and secured the 
appointment of a Wesleyan Minister to the chaplaincy. 
William Schofield, the first holder of this charge (appointed 
in 1828), fulfilled its duties with exemplary devotion. A 
couple of Quaker philanthropists about this time made a tour 
in the island, investigating its social and moral conditions. 
They reported thus on Macquarie Harbour : 

The labours of William Schofield were . . . crowned with en- 
couraging success. He found a difficulty in persuading the men to 
cherish hope ; but when this was once effected they began to lay hold 
of the offers of mercy, and some remarkable changes of character 
ensued. . . . Macquarie Harbour was no longer a place of despair. 

John Manton and William Butters both served a severe 
apprenticeship in this sphere. The former succeeded Schofield 
in 1832, at which date the penal settlement was removed to 
Port Arthur, on the opposite side of the island, and the 
Wesleyan chaplain with it. 

Launceston, the centre of a fertile and inviting valley, 
became a thriving town, second in importance only to Hobart 
Town. It soon drew the attention of the Missionaries. The 
substratum of the Launceston population was of the convict 


order, and Horton reports the wickedness of the place as defying" 
description. Hutchinson, still a lay agent, was transferred 
thither from Macquarie Harbour in 1825, and the prospect 
became so favourable that next year Launceston figures as a 
Circuit to which a regular Preacher is ' to be sent.' Hutchinson 
was appropriated for the Friendly Islands, and his place was 
left empty ; the Launceston Society had to be content with 
occasional visits from distant Hobart Town. Despairing of 
help from the Missionary Society, the deserted Methodist 
remnant before the end of the twenties sold the church property, 
the trustee handing over the proceeds of the sale to the 
Presbyterians, who were thus assisted to build their church in 
Launceston. When, in consequence of the arrival of new 
Methodist colonists, our Church resumed its activities in this 
district, and Manton was appointed to Launceston in 1832, the 
work had to be recommenced from the foundation. But 
Manton was a true founder, and the Launceston Circuit grew 
within a few years to rival that of Hobart Town in numbers 
and prosperity. 

Ralph Mansfield, Horton's successor (1823-26), was dis- 
tinctly successful at the latter centre. He finally built the 
chapel in Melville Street, in whose erection Horton had stopped 
half-way, and gathered an excellent congregation within it. 
He put John Hutchinson to work, who in those early days 
proved a very serviceable helper. Governor Arthur, who 
arrived early in 1824, » made a friend of Mansfield, and entered 
heartily into his plans for the extension of the Mission. At 
his previous post in Jamaica he had learned to value the work 
of Wesleyan Methodism, and was an annual subscriber to its 
funds. He encouraged the completion of the Melville Street 
Chapel ; he put the Macquarie Harbour chaplaincy into 
Methodist hands. The reformation of the convicts and the 
moral improvement of the island were primary objects of his 
policy. Australia owes a great debt to Governors like Mac- 
quarie and Arthur, who made themselves both ' a terror to 
evil-doers' and 'a praise to them that did well.' Mansfield 
writes of Sir George Arthur as 

facilitating my labours in various parts of the colony, giving me the 

1 In the next year Van Diemen's Land was separated from New South Wales and 
became a Colony in its own right, Sir George Arthur being designated Governor 
instead of Lieutenant-Governor. 


use of Government rooms for the performance of Divine service and 
instructing the officers to assist when in their power. 

In 1826 Mansfield was removed to New South Wales. 
Carvosso, who had been the first Preacher in Hobart Town, 
and had always longed to return, changed places with him. 
The former was the more intellectual Preacher, the latter the 
more efficient pastor and the steadier man. He builded well 
upon the foundations laid. Each of the three Missionaries 
who laboured successively during the first ten years at Hobart 
showed himself here at his best. Benjamin Carvosso, indeed, 
failed to extend the area of the Mission ; the dropping of the 
work at Launceston took place during his superintendency ; 
he left the Methodist Church on the island in numbers pretty 
much as he found it. But its quality was improved through 
his influence ; the families under his care became thoroughly 
attached to Methodism, and things were put in train for the 
progress effected by his successors. In 1830 failing health 
brought him finally home to England. 

The energetic and popular Hutchinson was put into the place 
vacated at Hobart. In the course of a year or two he was 
diverted by secular attractions, and his withdrawal damaged 
the slowly growing Society. Some of Hutchinson's friends 

conceived that in the circumstances which led to his taking this step he 
had been harshly treated by his ministerial brethren, and in consequence 
withdrew from Wesleyan fellowship, holding themselves aloof from 
the Church in a factious spirit. 

During Hutchinson's ministry a dispute arose over the use of 
the Anglican liturgy in the Hobart Town Chapel — a question 
which for years agitated the little church. At this juncture 
Nathaniel Turner, invalided from the Friendly Islands, re- 
appeared upon the scene ; he was the emergency man of 
Australian Methodism. Turner's active and faithful labours, 
his fine Christian spirit, reinvigorated the Mission ; the ranks, 
thinned by disaffection, were soon more than replenished. 

The new Missionary gave attention to the outlying parts of 
the Circuit ; he enlisted a superior Local Preacher named 
Leach, 1 who shared with him the extensive area covered by 

1 Two other Local Preachers, Lovell and Wilkinson, who rendered invaluable 
service to the Hobart Town Circuit, settled here as colonists from England about 
the time of Turner's appointment. 


his ministrations. Leach was never brought into the ministry, 
though his talent and usefulness marked him out for this 
vocation ; after itinerating for some time under Turner's 
direction, he settled down at Launceston, where he was the 
means of reviving Methodism, now all but extinct. Turner 
visited his fellow labourer here, traversing on horseback the 
distance of 121 miles from Hobart, and preaching at every 
halting-place on the way. He found a population grown to 
over 1,000, with scanty religious provision, and eager for 
efficient preaching of the Gospel. He restored Launceston, 
therefore, to his Circuit Plan, and succeeded in visiting the 
town once a quarter. A line of preaching-places was established 
on the road linking it to Hobart. Philip Oakden about this 
time made his home in Launceston, where he allied himself with 
the feeble Methodist folk. This gentleman became a successful 
merchant and banker, and a leading factor in the prosperity 
of Launceston ; he proved through life a pillar of his Church 
and a firm upholder of civic righteousness. 1 In 1834 the time 
had come to plant a Missionary at Launceston. The first 
appointment — that of John Manton, transferred from Mac- 
quarie Harbour — was particularly happy. In the four years of 
Manton's labours here he formed a comparatively large Society, 
and evangelized the north of the island. His able ministry and 
dignity of character gave a standing to Methodism in 
Launceston which impressed its whole subsequent history. 

An attack was made on Tasmanian Methodism in the early 
thirties such as it has suffered from in other colonies. It was 
represented to Governor Arthur, on ecclesiastical authority, 
that the Methodist Superintendent Turner was employing 
immoral persons as Local Preachers ; and, further, that 
Wesleyan methods and teaching were unsuitable for convicts, 
and made religion cheap ! Probably the jealousy between 
' Emancipists ' and ' Exclusives,' which we have noted in New 
South Wales Society, partly prompted these insinuations. As 
it happened, a couple of members of the Society of Friends 
were just then in Van Diemen's Land, engaged in studying the 
moral condition of the colony, and making particular and 

1 The Oakdens were one of the number — large in comparison with the size of 
our Societies — of intelligent and leading families in the Colony identified with 
Methodism, who served their Church loyally in the times of its early struggles. These 
included the Hortons of Ross, the Sherwins and Stephensons of Launceston, the 
Johnsons of Green Ponds, Robinson ' the Conciliator,' the Hiddlestones, Chapmans, 
Hopkinsons, and Mathers of Hobart Town. 


detailed inquiry into the reformatory work carried on by the 
various Churches. Their published findings showed that three- 
fourths of the convicts, brought, in various parts of the island, 
to a saving knowledge of God and an honest, new life, owed 
their conversion to Methodist agency. Sir George Arthur 
tested the report by his own inquiries, and stated to his Council 
that the Wesleyans had done more for the convicts than all 
other Churches put together. 

Sunday schools were multiplied and improved ; temperance 
work, now for the first time organized here, and the operations 
of the Bible and Tract Societies, were actively prosecuted ; in 
addition to these, the local Benevolent Society at Hobart 
Town prospered under Turner's leadership. Toward the end 
of his term his manifold labours were shared by a missionary 
colleague, in the person of Stephen Rabone, arrested for some 
months at Hobart on his way to New South Wales. This 
young Minister, who grew to be a commanding figure in 
Colonial Methodism, and an early President of the Australasian 
Conference, contracted through their brief collaboration in 
Tasmania a friendship with Turner which greatly influenced 
the lives of both men. 

At the close of 1834 Turner laid down his eventful super- 
intendency, during which the Church membership of his 
Circuit had been increased fourfold (it was now close upon 200). 
Joseph Orton, migrating hither from Sydney, took charge of 
Hobart ; and the Tasmanian Circuits of Hobart Town, Port 
Arthur, and Launceston, with three Preachers, were severed 
from New South Wales to form a separate new District under 
Orton's chairmanship. Containing only 224 Church members, 
' the Van Diemen's Land District '.was obviously unequal to 
the title, ' District,' but the great distance from Sydney, and 
the uncertainty of communication, made separation desirable ; 
and the District justified its existence by its rapid advance 
from this time onwards. 

William Butters had been the first Wesleyan chaplain at 
Port Arthur, the new penal settlement replacing Macquarie 
Harbour, where nearly 1,000 twice-convicted felons were 
herded under a rule of iron discipline. Only five women lived 
in the place, the wives of officials or soldiers ; gentleness and 
humane care were hardly dreamed of in this doleful spot. 
Butter's zeal was daunted by no horrors of evil ; his warmth of 


heart was quenched by no official coldness. The success 
which attended his ministry was in some cases marvellous to a 
miracle. This noble Missionary, a native of North Lincoln- 
shire, entered the ministry in 1833 ; he ' travelled ' in Tasmania 
until 1846, when he was removed to the continent. We shall 
meet him later at Melbourne, where he rose to the height of his 
influence ; he became the third President of the Australasian 
Conference (1858). His strength failed after some thirty years 
of most strenuous toil spent in laying the foundations of the 
kingdom of God in Australia ; but he was spared to enjoy a 
green old age in his native land, and died in London in 1887. 
Two years of the solitude and the terrible scenes of Port Arthur 
— ' absolutely the vilest spot of earth man ever set his foot 
upon,' writes one Missionary — were as much as the strongest 
could endure, and Butters was replaced there in 1836 by 
William Simpson, who came hither from New South Wales, 
himself joining Orton at Hobart Town. Subsequently John 
A. Manton returned to Port Arthur for a second term. A 
refined and intellectual man, to him it was like a burial to live 
at Port Arthur, in daily communion with ruffianism and 
besotment ; but he never shrank from the task, and earned 
undying gratitude from men in whose breast he had reawakened 
the spark of God-given humanity. 

The Wesleyan chaplaincy at Port Arthur terminated during 
Manton's appointment. Some eighteen months prior to this 
an advertisement had appeared in the Britannia newspaper for 
an Anglican clergyman for the settlement, but no response was 
forthcoming, and the Wesleyan chaplain remained on sufferance 
till 1844. The displacement was contrary to the spirit of the 
law, for in 1838 an Act was passed by the Tasmanian Legislature 
modelled on that of New South Wales, which placed the 
Churches on an equal footing. 

Joseph Orton's appointment to the Chair of the newly con- 
stituted District of Van Diemen's Land was eventful for the 
Methodism of the island, as it had been for that of New South 
Wales. Nathaniel Turner's superintendency had already 
brought the Tasmanian Societies into a healthy and growing 
condition ; they received a fresh stimulus through the fatherly 
oversight and enlarged views of the new chief. The District 
now created was diminutive in constituency, but, as Orton 
saw, it was charged with a potent life, and was on the eve of 


great expansion. In 1836 three Preachers were stationed at 
Hobart Town, in order to overtake the extended work of the 
Circuit and to leave the Chairman free for District supervision. 
One of the new Ministers was the vigorous and enthusiastic 
William Butters. This step speedily bore fruit in the creation 
of a fourth Circuit — ' New Norfolk, Ross, and Longford ' — 
covering the hinterland between Hobart Town and Launceston ; 
the Church membership of the District was now 442, having 
doubled itself in two years. Except Port Arthur, with its 
single chaplain, each of the Circuits now employed two Mis- 
sionaries. John Eggleston, a future Australasian President 
(i860), commenced his course in the Hobart Town Circuit in 
1838. Late in the previous year the foundation was laid of a 
new and handsome Methodist church in Melville Street, Hobart, 
by the Governor of the colony, Sir John Franklin. 1 The new 
Melville Street Chapel was completed after Orton's departure 
in 1840. Earlier in 1837 the building of the Longford chapel 
took place. These were gladdening tokens of progress. 

The chief event of Orton's administration, however, lay 
outside the island, and will furnish the starting-point of our 
next chapter. Tasmania was the mother of the great colony 
of Victoria, where land was first taken up, and the site of 
Melbourne city fixed, by prospectors from this island. Some 
of these adventurers were Methodists. Orton watched their 
enterprise with keen interest, and himself went across with 
them to reconnoitre the land of promise. The consequence 
was that a new Circuit was formed, under the name of ' Port 
Phillip,' which originally belonged to Van Diemen's Land Dis- 
trict ; in 1839, however, it was transferred to the care of New 
South Wales. The Port Phillip Circuit was designed in the 
first instance as a Mission to the Aborigines, who, as Orton 
judged, could be best reached from this direction. But from 
its inception white settlers, amongst whom there was a sprink- 
ling of Methodists, claimed attention from the Missionaries ; 
very quickly colonial interests in this region assumed 
commanding importance. 

Orton's health, never robust since his coming to Australia 
and further strained by his unsparing labours, declined from 
this time, even in the wholesome Tasmanian climate ; he was 
compelled to seek retirement to England. Though relieved 

The famous Arctic explorer. 


of his duties at Hobart Town by the coming of John Water- 
house, in October, 1840, he consented to delay his voyage in 
order to meet the pressing needs of Melbourne. Here he 
nursed the infant Society, until he was able to hand over his 
charge to the Missionary appointed from England. He traced 
the first lines of Methodism in Australia Felix (as ' Victoria ' 
was then called), and he visited and reported upon the rising 
settlement of Adelaide, in South Australia, far to the west of 
Melbourne. Joseph Orton's lingering for this purpose pro- 
bably cost him his life. He finally sailed for home early in 
1842, in great debility ; but he never reached British shores, 
dying on the voyage, in the month of April, 1842. In the 
stormy waters about Cape Horn his body was committed to 
the deep. 

The letter which Orton addressed to the London Committee 
in 1838 was a sort of valedictory charge and prophecy. He 
had seen how sorely the work in Australia had suffered for want 
of authority and the gift of government amongst its pioneers, 
and how much might be effected there, even in a short time, 
by competent leadership ; accordingly he writes as follows : 

The growing importance of the settlements of Australasia, which 
are rapidly increasing in number and making great advance in general 
improvement, demands the consideration of the Committee and Con- 
ference. The rising Societies in the respective colonies and settlements 
with which our shores are already studded will, ere long, be one of the 
most interesting departments of Wesleyan labour (especially taking in 
the islands of Tonga and New Zealand), provided that the whole be 
brought under a vigilant, judicious, and effective supervision 1 ; which, 
in order to secure the respective parts and provide for the wellbeing of 
the whole, must be the case at no very distant period, and is demanded 
by circumstances, especially by the remoteness from the mother 
country. A native ministry for these parts will in course of time be 
gradually supplied from internal resources, but the time has not yet 
come when this can be efficiently accomplished. To force it would 
be inexpedient. 

Orton rightly perceived that the extreme distance of the 
Australasian field from head quarters in England, and the 
uncertainty attaching to the judgement passed and the instruc- 
tions given by the Missionary Committee upon events and 
transactions at the other side of the globe and reported five or 

1 The recent course of the New Zealand Mission enforced the lessons drawn from 
the experience of New South Wales to this effect. 


six months after their occurrence, made it imperative that 
some strong and reliable executive should be fixed on the spot, 
entrusted with large discretionary powers. The mistakes and 
confusion which, before Orton's coming, brought the New 
South Wales Mission so near disaster, were due to the lack of 
proper District control. 

Orton's letter probably influenced the Missionary Com- 
mittee to the appointment of John Waterhouse — a man of 
thirty years' standing in the home ministry and of well-proved 
ability and judgement — who came out in 1839 to act as 
Methodist bishop of the South Seas ; his title was ' General 
Superintendent of the Wesleyan Missions in Australia and 
Polynesia.' Hobart was chosen for his residence, as being 
comparatively central to the diocese ; but he was to exercise a 
travelling superintendency of the five Districts of New South 
Wales, Van Diemen's Land, New Zealand, the Friendly Islands, 
and Fiji. Each District in the province had its own Chairman ; 
Nathaniel Turner, now recalled from New Zealand, held this 
office in Tasmania along with the superintendence of the 
Hobart Circuit. Waterhouse was to be a sort of super- 

A truer episcopos, according to the pattern set forth in the New- 
Testament, was never seen in the Southern world. . . . His first mis- 
sionary tour was to New Zealand early in 1840 ; his second was entered 
upon in October of the same year. He then visited New South 
Wales, New Zealand, the Friendly Islands, and Fiji. 

His office entailed incessant fatigue, excitement, and mental 
and spiritual strain. A poor sailor, the constant travelling by 
sea was in itself a heavy tax upon his strength. Extreme 
nervous debility prostrated him, followed by a complication of 
disorders which proved fatal. He died at Hobart Town on. 
March 30, 1842, predeceasing Or ton by a few days. Not often 
has a death been more widely deplored, or, to human appear- 
ance, more untimely. But the spirit that John Waterhouse 
breathed, the standard of action he set before men's eyes, 
and his wise, benignant counsel, left ineffaceable impressions 
on the fields he visited. His memory has remained as that of a 
venerable and apostolic personality, to consecrate and dignify 
the Methodism of the South Seas. 

The Van Diemen's Land missionary staff had now been 


raised to the number of seven, not counting the General 
Superintendent ; at this figure it stood for several years. 
Frequent interchanges were made with the mainland — the 
island was becoming a recognized sanatorium, men who had 
lost health in other Districts being sent to Van Diemen's Land 
for a year or two in order to recruit — but Turner, Manton, 
and Butters remained for a considerable time the nucleus of 
the District ministry. They were workmen who needed not to 
be ashamed, men who planned wisely and toiled bravely, who 
loved each other and their people well. Van Diemen's Land 
now began to fill up somewhat rapidly with colonists, and 
these of a better type than the first-comers. Preachers were 
wanted in many directions ; the reputation of Methodism had 
become well established. Manton wrote in 1836, from 
Launceston, soon after his arrival there : 

We labour until we are ready to die, yet we cannot half supply the 
-wants of the people. It is heartrending to see the state in which the 
inhabitants in the interior of this colony are living ; they are, however, 
willing to be instructed, but have no one to teach them. 

In 1839 the ranks of the ministry were strengthened by the 
accession of Henry Honey Gaud from England, a worthy fellow- 
labourer with the three above named, and a stalwart of the 
colonial ministry, in which he spent his whole course. He was 
the Australasian President of 1867. Gaud served in Tasmania 
for a long term of years, as also did Jabez Bunting Waterhouse 
(son of John 1 ), who took a high place in the colonial ministry. 
The island shared with New South Wales in the labours of the 
saintly Edward Sweetman ; for a short time it enjoyed the 
ministry of William Longbottom, whose most important work 
was done in South Australia. The exacting demands of 
Victoria kept the staff of the neighbouring island low in 
numbers ; in the middle forties it fell below the normal figure of 
seven, which it never exceeded till after 1854, the year of 

For the twenty years antecedent to that date, from the days 
of Orton and Turner, Tasmanian Methodism, in the main, ran a 
tranquil course ; it witnessed no signal or general revival, but 
on^the other hand no violent strife or marked declension ; 

1 Three sons of John Waterhouse followed in the same calling ; all men of 
exceptional worth and usefulness. 


growth was steady and uniform throughout the Circuits." 
These were increased in number by the separation of Ross from 
New Norfolk in 1839, and again diminished by the dropping of 
Port Arthur a few years later. Oatlands, Westbury, and 
Longford came on the list successively about 1850. 

The tin-mines of Mount Bischoff and the silver-mines of 
Zeehan were opened subsequently to the point at which our 
history terminates. These developments remain compara- 
tively isolated and on a minor scale ; they have not transformed 
the condition of the country, as did the discovery of gold in 
Victoria and New South Wales. The total population at the 
present time remains below 200,000, of whom Hobart Town 
holds 25,000, and Launceston something short of 20,000. The 
Australian gold-fever in the early fifties affected the island 
disadvantageously for some years by drawing away its people 
and depleting its moneyed capital. From these causes 
Methodism experienced a temporary embarrassment ; in the 
end the gain of the mainland proved the island's gain also. But 
Tasmania has constantly suffered from the attraction which 
the wider sphere and larger opportunities of the continent had 
for its more active and adventurous spirits ; the yearly 
emigration from the island almost equals the inflow. 

During the forties and fifties the churches of this District 
attained self-support. 

All our Connexional regulations as to finance [it is said] have been 
accepted by the Tasmanian Methodists from the beginning. And a 
people more loyal to the doctrines and discipline of the body could not 
be found in any part of our widespread Connexion. 

It seemed as though, at the epoch the story has reached, the 
absence of struggle and hardship had become the peril of the 
Church in this colony : 

Life was wrapped in a slow, snug, slumbrous peace. . . . No 
financial cares could break the long repose. . . . Circuit debts were a 
thing unknown. 

This field of labour by the middle of last century was in some 
danger of becoming a Capua, or even a Laodicea, to its 

Tasmania took the lead in Australian Methodist education. 


The well-to-do families of the Methodist Circuits became 
concerned for the better education of their children. Up to 
the middle of last century the island was unprovided with high 
schools, while its isolation made it costly and precarious to 
send children elsewhere for training. Captain Samuel Horton, 
of Ross, a large proprietor who had settled in Tasmania under 
the advice of his cousin, William Horton, the first resident 
Missionary, started a movement for building a Methodist 
College. He offered two acres of land near to Ross, and a 
liberal contribution in money, amounting in the end to £1,380, 
for the purpose. The project was taken up by the Synod of 
1850, and materialized with little delay. Five years 
subsequently Horton College, taking the name of its chief 
promoter, was opened. John Manton, by whose unique 
influence and sound judgement the plans had been greatly 
furthered, was appointed Principal of the institution. He 
occupied the post with honour and success for four years, until 
in 1859 he was removed to New South Wales, where he assisted 
in founding the Newington College, near Sydney, of which he 
was the first President. Manton was, moreover, the first 
elected President of the Australasian Conference, succeeding 
William B. Boyce in that Chair in 1857. He died in 1862, 
while still in the vigour of his days, a man revered and trusted 
for his wisdom and his selfless devotion through the whole 
of Australian Methodism. 

Horton College (for boys) has enjoyed unbroken prosperity, 
and holds still a premier place amongst the schools of the 
colony. In due time it was supplemented by an equally 
flourishing Boarding School for Girls, set up at Launceston. 
The climate of Tasmania favours the establishment of schools 
of this class, ^ince communication has become easy, families 
living in Melbourne and other parts of the mainland incline to 
send their children, especially those of delicate constitution, 
across the Straits for education, provided they can find there 
suitable school-homes, offering religious nurture along with 
intellectual training, and making soul and body alike the 
objects of their care. These needs the Methodist Boarding 
Schools have sought to meet. Tasmania is coming to be 
known as a health-resort not only for Australia and Polynesia, 
but for China and the East Indies besides. Thus advantaged, 
the island may well become a most important educational centre. 


To the Australasian Affiliated Conference, constituted in 
1855, the Van Diemen's Land District (still bearing this name) 
contributed 6 Ministers in 8 Circuits, containing 694 Church 
members, with 38 on trial, under 50 Class-leaders ; 23 chapels, 
and 11 other preaching-places ; 28 Local Preachers ; 13 Sunday 
schools, attended by 1,082 scholars and employing 106 teachers ; 
and about 4,000 adherents, out of a population numbering at 
this time some 70,000. Add to this enumeration the one 
college, which was opened in the year above-named. These 
statistics represent what appears but a moderate return for 
thirty-three years of missionary toil. The entire period was 
occupied with the breaking-up of fallow ground and with seed- 
sowing ; much labour had been spent, and with satisfactory 
results, in ministering to the imprisoned convicts, on soil 
which could yield but a minimum of calculable fruit. 

The Tasmanian District made comparatively rapid progress 
from the date of independence. During the next twenty years 
the Wesleyan Church membership was more than doubled, 
while the population grew by about 5 per cent. The accelerated 
rate of progress has been since maintained. At the present 
time our Church membership (after the reunion of the 
Methodist bodies, effected in 1902) amounts to about 3,000, 
with perhaps 18,000 adherents, out of a population ten times 
as large. 


Australia Felix — The Launceston Expedition — Governor Latrobe — 
Joseph Orton again — Schofield and Sweetman — Victoria a separate 
District — The Rush for Gold — The ' Wesleyan Immigrants' Home ' — 
Reinforcements from England — The Basis of sound Citizenship — 
Notable Ministers. 

The early years of the State of Victoria in Australia supply the 
most marvellous chapter in the history of British colonization. 
The occupation of this region came about somewhat late, 
considering the attractiveness of the country, to which the first 
explorers, setting out from Sydney, had given the name 
' Australia Felix.' In 1802 the expedition which discovered 
Bass's Straits sailed into Hobson's Bay at the head of Port 
Phillip, on the shore of which the city of Melbourne now stands. 
In the following year the River Yarra-yarra was explored, and 
Captain Collins, with his company of convicts, arrived at Port 
Phillip, prospecting with a view to settlement there. Failing to 
find a site suitable for a penal establishment, he crossed the 
Strait to Van Diemen's Land. So Victoria escaped the mis- 
fortune which had befallen New South Wales and Tasmania of 
having her foundations laid in the vicious human material of 
which the mother country was ridding herself by transportation 
across the earth. Being thus passed by, Australia Felix had to 
wait thirty years longer for the replenishing and subduing of her 
soil. Her pioneer colonists hailed from the neighbouring 
island, by this date fairly peopled. Two Tasmanian brothers, 
Edward and Stephen Henty, in 1834 set up a whale-fishing 
establishment at Portland Bay, which lies considerably west of 
Port Phillip. Here they acquired a large tract of land, and 
introduced sheep and cattle. About the same time a company 
was formed in Hobart Town under the name of ' The Port 
Phillip Association ' to exploit the mainland across Bass's 
Straits, which sent John Batman, one of its ablest members 
(once a boy in the Parramatta Wesleyan Sunday School), to 



survey the neighbourhood of Port Phillip with a view to occupa- 
tion. Batman arrived on the ground in 1835, an( i ms e Y e 
seized on the site of Melbourne as a suitable centre for the 
Company's operations, and ' the place for a village.' He 
trafficked with the natives, and claimed to have purchased 
from them for the Association half a million acres of land, at 
the price of twenty pairs of blankets, one hundred lbs. of flour, 
&c, &c, with the promise of a yearly supply of similar provisions 
in larger quantities. This ridiculous bargain, the original text 
of which may be seen in the Melbourne Public Library, is a 
specimen of the transactions imposed by the early European 
settlers on helpless savages in many a country. Batman's 
purchase was little respected by other colonists, and finally set 
aside by the Government ; but the Port Phillip Company 
assumed the ownership of a huge area of land on the strength 
of it. 

The Association was, however, forestalled by a shrewd 
Launceston innkeeper named John Pascoe Fawkner, who had 
come to Tasmania with Captain Collins in 1803. He quickly 
got together a select party, highly equipped, and dispatched 
them to the new country before the Hobart Association had 
completed its arrangements. Several of these engaged on the 
Launceston expedition were Methodists, and its members met 
at the Wesleyan chapel of that town on the evening before 
sailing, to seek a blessing on their adventure and to hear a 
sermon from John Manton. Fawkner was the first to erect a 
dwelling where Melbourne now stands. He secured land, and 
sowed corn ; in a short time he built an excellent hotel, which 
he furnished with an uncommonly good library. An intelligent 
as well as an enterprising leader, he lived to be the father of the 
Victorian press. This ' rugged, honest, public-spirited man ' 
was the founder of the city of Melbourne and the colony of 
Victoria. Henry Reed, who crossed from Tasmania with, or 
shortly after, Fawkner, with a view to benefiting the Aborigines, 
commenced his work upon this ground by gathering his com- 
panions together in one of Fawkner's sod-huts for prayer and 
the reading of Scripture. Before the end of that year the 
vanguard of Batman's company arrived, and settled amicably 
by the side of Fawkner's people. These first-comers were men 
of capacity and experience, who quickly made themselves at 
home ; bringing tools and livestock and some amount of capital 


with them, they readily got the land under tillage. In January, 
1836, came John Gardiner, another emigration-leader, who had 
marched across from the Murrumbidgee plains in the north 
with a herd of cattle to this promised land. The older colonies 
had all at once waked up to the value of the region about Port 

Now the Government turned its attention to this community, 
which had sprung into sudden importance. A resident magis- 
trate, civil officers, and soldiers arrived to assert the authority 
of the Crown ; with these a troop of convict labourers was 
furnished for employment by the farmers. In 1837 Governor 
Richard Bourke came to inspect the new district of the New 
South Wales province. He approved the choice of the site for 
Melbourne, and recognized the town officially as capital of the 
county created around it. In two years more the population, 
still mainly Tasmanian in origin, but beginning to be reinforced 
from England, had grown large enough to require a Lieutenant- 
Governor of its own ; the distance of 500 miles (by sea 600) 
separating Melbourne from Sydney rendered this arrangement 
the more necessary. An excellent appointment was made in 
the person of Charles Joseph Latrobe, who belonged to the 
famous Moravian family of that name. He continued in office 
for nearly twenty years, seeing the colony grow till it contained 
400,000 people. He witnessed the creation in 1851 of Victoria 1 
as an independent province by separation from New South 
Wales, and ' the gold-rush ' which followed soon after, over- 
whelming the little state with a flood of immigration from 
almost every part of the world. Rarely has a founder of 
government anywhere entered on his duties in a finer spirit. In 
his first address, replying to the greetings of the Melbourne 
citizens, Governor Latrobe said : 

I pray God, to whom I look for strength, that whether my stay 
amongst you, as the chief organ of Government, be long or short, I may 
be enabled through His grace to know my duty and to do my duty, 
diligently, temperately, and fearlessly. ... It will not be by individual 
aggrandizement, or by the possession of numerous flocks and herds or 
of costly acres, that we shall secure for the country enduring prosperity 
and happiness, but by the acquisition and maintenance of sound re- 
ligious and moral institutions, without which no country can be truly 

1 The name ' Victoria ' signalized the fact that the birth of the Colony 
synchronized with the beginning of the great Queen's reign. 


The infant colony started its career under the best tutelage. 
Through its late beginning it escaped some of the mistakes 
made in New South Wales and Tasmania and benefited by 
their experience. The ecclesiastical question was scarcely 
raised here ; from the outset the Churches stood on an equal 
footing in the eye of the law. Complaints were made of 
Latrobe's administration during the outbreak of the gold-fever 
as wanting in firmness ; but Draper's biographer, an eye- 
witness of the events, declares that 

few men deserve better of any community than Mr. Latrobe does of 
Victoria ; only those [he says] who were on the spot at the time can 
realize the difficulties of the position — it became simply impossible 
to do more than prevent universal anarchy. 

Joseph Orton, to whom the Methodism of New South Wales 
and of Tasmania owes so much, was virtually the father of the 
Methodist Church in Victoria. Stationed at this time in 
Hobart Town, Orton accompanied John Batman on his migra- 
tion to Melbourne in April, 1836 ; he was the first Methodist 
Preacher to land on the South Australian shores. His first 
sermons were preached under a tree on ' Batman's Hill,' in the 
morning and afternoon of the 24th of the month just named. 
For his audience he had the whole White population, numbering 
about fifty persons ; associated with these in the afternoon was 
an equal number of Natives on the outskirts of the circle, to 
whom the Preacher referred in a pointed and touching way. 
They behaved with the utmost decorum. Mr. Orton read the 
liturgy of the Church of England, the magistrate leading the 
responses and the doctor (a well-known Presbyterian) acting as 
precentor. The sermons — unforgettable to many of their 
hearers — were grounded on the fundamental texts, ' What shall 
I do to inherit eternal life ? ' and ' As many as received Him, to 
them gave He power to become sons of God.' Such was the 
beginning of the Methodist Church — of the Church of God 
itself — in Melbourne and Victoria. A regular Society was 
formed soon after, consisting of seven people 1 ; William 
Whitton, who settled here in 1837, was the chosen Leader. The 
nucleus rapidly developed with the enlargement of the com- 
munity. Orton's chief purpose on this visit had been to 

1 Orton names in his journal a Mr. George Letty and Mr. J. Peers, along with 
Whitton, as members of the first Society. 


prospect for the Mission in this district to the Aborigines. 1 His 
stay in the colony, therefore, was not prolonged, and he departed 
for Tasmania, commending the handful of Methodist believers 
to the grace of God and promising his best endeavours to 
obtain a pastor for them. 

In 1838 the Methodist Society, meeting in Whitton's hut, 
had increased to the number of eighteen. On Sundays it 
enjoyed the hospitalities of Congregational or Presbyterian 
worship. Later in the year the Society received an important 
accession through the appointment of James Dredge and 
Edward Stone Parker as ' Protectors of the Aborigines ' under 
Government. These gentlemen were efficient Local Preachers, 
and supplied the lack of a regular ministry. Their preaching 
proved popular, and morning service was held on Sunday at 
Whitton's house, while the Presbyterians lent their church to 
the Methodists for the afternoon. Ground was now secured 
for a chapel, which in a few months was built, at the cost of 
£250, raised on the spot — a small, plain edifice, but neat, 
substantial, and sufficient for the primitive congregation. 
Before this time a Sunday school had been opened for the 
children of the township. Meanwhile the Mission to the 
Aborigines had been commenced at Buntingdale, but its 
position had been fixed at a distance from the colony, in order 
to avoid White contamination. The two Missionaries engaged 
there could only make occasional visits to the Melbourne 
Society. Orton earnestly commended Melbourne to the 
Mission House in London, but for the present they could find 
no man for this post. 

In the course of the year 1839 William Simpson was sent 
over from Launceston, to hold a month's mission and to 
examine the .Society. He reported a membership of thirty, 
with two or three Local Preachers, a good chapel raised, hold- 
ing a full congregation — the little place was crowded to suffoca- 
tion when he preached. The population, living mostly in the 
near neighbourhood of Melbourne, within three years had 
mounted up to 2,000. The leading members of the church 

evinced a patient, persevering, and laudable concern for the prosperity 
of the cause, and under their nurturing regard the Society and con- 

1 His guide and interpreter in communicating with the natives was William 
Buckley, a remarkable man who had escaped thirty years earlier from penal servitude 
in New South Wales and had lived all this while amongst the Blacks. His fellow 
countrymen came upon him on their first arrival at Port Phillip. 


gregation not only maintained their position, but encouragingly pro- 
gressed. . . . Their praise is in the mouths of their fellow townsmen of 
other denominations. 

So much had been accomplished by lay effort and oversight 
alone. Simpson appealed to the Tasmanian Synod to occupy 
the place. To the Missionary Secretaries in England he wrote : 
' I know not a fairer field for usefulness in any of our British 
settlements in this part of the world.' Dredge and Parker 
communicated the same impression to the Sydney Methodists. 
Every one of discernment who saw Melbourne in its early days 
augured a great future for the town. 

Joseph Orton's much-needed furlough was now due ; his 
place was filled in Hobart, and he was on the point of sailing 
for England. The need of Melbourne was, however, so urgent 
that he consented to take charge of the Society here until 
Samuel Wilkinson, the Missionary to be transferred from New 
South Wales, should arrive. He found (in 1840) the popula- 
tion of the town multiplied to 3,000, and a Methodist Society 
in being, counted at 80 members, with 4 Class-leaders. The 
little chapel was overcrowded, and a larger edifice was in course 
of erection. 1 Orton's superintendency, which lasted the best 
part of a year, established a proper Methodist order ; his 
successor found a well-organized Circuit awaiting him. The 
former revered Minister then bade farewell to Melbourne and 
to Australia, thus closing, as it proved, his work on earth. 

Samuel Wilkinson, after a year's good service, was replaced 
on this station by William Schofield, a most energetic and 
successful pioneer, removed hither from Sydney. The growing 
importance of Melbourne is indicated in the Stations of 1842 
by the attachment to Schofield's name of the words, ' Another 
is requested.' Buntingdale and Melbourne are credited with 
132 Church members, nearly all belonging to the latter Circuit. 
In the same year Dredge resigned his Protectorship of the 
Natives, through disagreement with Governmental methods 
of dealing with them. Schofield engaged him as hired Local 
Preacher at Geelong, the second town founded in the colony, 
occupying the western angle of the Bay of Port Phillip. Men 
of Dredge's zeal and talents, too old to enter the ministry or 

1 This was the chapel built in Collins Street, which for long remained the centre 
of Melbourne Methodism. The Government gave the site, on condition that £300 
should be first raised towards the erection. The building was opened before Orton 
left, on June 24, 1841 ; Whitton and Simpson were the chief agents in its founding. 


able to lay aside secular work only for a while, rendered invalu- 
able service to the young Australian Church in this capacity 
during its shortage of Ministers. William Longbottom was 
designated in 1844 as Schofield's colleague, but never arrived, 
and Melbourne remained a single station. During the years 
of Schofield's superintendency the colony suffered, as com- 
munities of rapid growth are apt to do, a severe commercial 
depression, and its advance was checked for a time ; but the 
work of the Gospel was little hindered. By the end of this 
Minister's term, in 1845, Portland (200 miles west of Melbourne) 
was ripe for the appointment of a Missionary, and promised 
£50, by way of beginning, toward his maintenance. None 
being available, William Whitton went from Melbourne as a 

Sweetman, who succeeded Schofield, reported a membership 
close upon 400 in his first year, and reiterated the appeal for 
help from home. 

The cause of God [he writes in 1847] is steadily advancing here ; 
and the success of the means in operation makes us regret that our 
means are so few. How distressing [he continues, referring to the new 
list of stations] to see next to nothing done for this District ! We have 
been looking for the John Wesley, 1 in expectation of a large reinforce- 
ment ; and what is she about to bring us ? One man — the shadow of a 
supply ; a cargo of disappointment ! According to the late accounts 
from the islands, her supplies will have to be consumed by the ghosts 
of those brethren who are falling prematurely through excessive labour. 
... If the North would give up her Ministers, the South would not 
keep back her converts, but would yield her sons from far and her 
daughters from the ends of the earth. 

Sweetman's bitter cry breathes the anguish felt by many a 
Missionary overwhelmed by toil, who sees harvests waving 
that he cannot reap and golden opportunities passing beyond 
his power to grasp, while the reinforcements he has prayed and 
begged for proceed to other fields. The chagrin at Melbourne 
was the greater because everything had gone well in this 
Mission. There had been no failure in its leaders ; they had 
a united and devoted people, and lived in general favour. A 

1 The mission ship employed at this time in the South Seas. She was announced 
as bringing a large party of new Missionaries, chiefly for New Zealand and Tonga. 
Sweetman alludes in the following sentence to reports of severe casualties in the 
Friendly Islands and Fiji ; the results were happily less fatal than he foreboded. 
Australia temporarily suffered from the immense exertions the Missionary Society 
was making for the heathen of Tonga and Fiji. 


larger church had been gathered in Melbourne through the 
labours of a single Missionary in seven years than in Sydney 
and the old colony during three times that period, and with 
a staff three or four times as large. 

The Melbourne Quarterly Meeting of June, 1847, again asked 
for two — if possible, ttiree — additional Missionaries to be sent 
to Australia Felix. At the same time it recommended for 
service two young men from its own ranks, viz. John Christian 
Symons and Robert C. Flockhart. The former, who com- 
menced his probation in 1850, was a young Englishman of 
exceptional promise ; he had taken part in the founding of the 
Young Men's Christian Association in London, and his abilities 
quickly attracted attention in the colonies. He did fine 
pioneer work for a few years later on the goldfields, and became 
a leader of the Australasian Church, to the Presidency of which 
he was raised in 1888. Symons possessed literary as well as 
practical and administrative gifts ; his Life of Daniel James 
Draper is a well- written and instructive missionary biography. 
Flockhart, though not so distinguished as his companion, was 
of excellent spirit, and for many years took a leading part in 
the building of Colonial Methodism. 1 For the present these 
two candidates served the District as lay agents. William 
Lowe, a candidate from another colony, was sent to Melbourne 
as Sweetman's Assistant. 1 This worthy man was one of the 
Australian rank and file, who fulfilled a long course in the 
ministry and earned throughout ' a good degree.' By this time 
the Buntingdale Mission had been closed. Of its two Mis- 
sionaries, Hurst was removed to New South Wales ; Tuckfield, 
loath to abandon the Native work, remained a year or two 
longer at his own charges in Buntingdale, hoping beyond hope 
for some sign of fruit to his devoted labours ; but he, too, was 
compelled to desist, and in 1848 took charge of the Circuit of 
Geelong. There were now three regular Ministers assigned to 
the Melbourne section of the New South Wales District. 

In 1848 the Melbourne Quarterly Meeting raised the question 
of separation from New South Wales. Communication with 
Sydney, over 600 miles of sea, was difficult, uncertain, and 

1 Flockhart presided over the Conference of Victoria and Tasmania in 1885. 

*The printed stations appearing in the Minutes for this period are widely dis- 
crepant from the facts. They record the prospective intentions of the Mission House 
as to the distribution of its agents, formed months in advance, which were subject to 
delays and modifications through local contingencies. Both Sweetman and Lowe, 
in the official Stations of 1847, are put down for Circuits remote from Melbourne. 


expensive ; and attendance at Synods there was costly in time 
as well as money. Tasmania, thirteen years earlier, had become 
a separated District for the same reasons, when its Church 
membership was smaller than the newer colony now contained. 
The resolution presented on the subject insists on the care 
necessary in carrying out the intention which was already 
settled in principle : 

That the contemplated separation of this District from the District 
of Sydney will probably require the presence of some influential 
representative on the part of the Methodist body to superintend and 
promote their interests during the change. . . . This meeting 
recommends that until the change shall have taken place the Rev. Mr. 
Sweetman be continued here as Superintendent. 

(According to the Minutes of Conference, Sweetman had been 
transferred to Tasmania in the previous year.) At the request 
of the Melbourne Circuit, whose Quarterly Meeting was of 
exceptional weight for so young a Circuit, he remained in 
charge for two years longer. His removal to Launceston was 
delayed until the beginning of 1850, when William Butters 
replaced him in Melbourne. He left a Church membership of 
512 in the three stations of Melbourne, Geelong, and Portland 

The first Anglican Bishop of Melbourne was consecrated in 
1848 ; with his coming the clerical staff of the diocese was 
raised from three to seven. Dr. Charles Berry, the appointed 
Bishop, showed himself a competent and fair-minded man ; 
and Melbourne was free from the Anglican overbearingness and 
intrigue which in some colonies injured so greatly the cause of 
religion. He wrote, soon after his elevation, in terms that well 
describe the qualifications needed in the Ministers for a new 
colony : 

We must have men of more than ordinary zeal, and of patient, 
persevering diligence. We do not so much want men of highly cul- 
tivated minds and of deep learning as men of practical good sense and 
warm affections, men well versed in the English Bible . . . earnest 
and effective Preachers, and also diligent pastors of their flock. 

The District status anticipated by Melbourne Methodism in 
1848 was not actually secured until three years later. From 
1845 onwards ' Australia and Van Diemen's Land ' had been 


constituted, in point of form, a single ' District ' under the 
direction of William Boyce. But the chief sections of this huge 
area held their separate Synods, and Butters, stationed at 
Melbourne, acted as Deputy-Chairman for Australia Felix. 
The first Synod, held in September, 1851, consisted, beside the 
Chairman, of Frederick Lewis, stationed at Geelong, William 
Lightbody at Portland, along with two probationers. These 
were John Harcourt, of colonial extraction, a steady, useful 
man, who assisted Butters in Melbourne, and Samuel Water- 
house, son of the late John Waterhouse, who was designated a 
' Bush Missionary.' The last-named was a District Missioner, 
sent out to preach from homestead to homestead amongst the 
up-country settlers and squatters. For a few months Water- 
house was notably successful in this work, until the breaking 
out of the gold-fever sent the country people nocking wholesale 
to the diggings. Waterhouse followed his decamping flock ; 
but the next Conference gave him orders for Fiji, the country 
for which he had originally volunteered. Failure of health 
drove Samuel Waterhouse back, in 1856, to the colonies, in 
whose Circuits he served acceptably for many years. 

William Butters made a deep impression on the District at 
its inception. ' He brought out fully the connexional principle ' 
of Methodism, 

and indelibly marked the (Synod) proceedings with that breadth of 
view which characterized the whole of his subsequent administration. 
Thus was our ecclesiastical and financial policy fairly launched ; every 
available precaution was taken for the conservation of the Societies and 
congregations already gathered ; and due steps were taken for the 
extension of the work of God throughout the colony, which was being 
rapidly inundated by the rush from England. 

Two additional Missionaries were asked for from home — a mere 
fraction of the reinforcements shortly to be required ; no one 
foresaw the volume of the impending influx. At Butters' first 
Quarterly Meeting in April, 1850, after the example of Sydney, 
a ' Wesleyan Emigrants' Friend Society ' had been formed, 
which was soon to find an overwhelming task incumbent upon 
it. Arrangements were made for one of the Ministers to visit 
each incoming vessel in order to seek out and befriend any 
Methodists on board. 1 The sad fact was in evidence that not a 

1 This kindness is now rendered by our Church systematically and with the 
utmost care at the Canadian ports. The neglect of immigrants to notify their arrival 


tenth part of those who had been members of Society in England 
voluntarily reported themselves to the Ministers of their 
Church on landing in the colony. 

When the full tide of gold-seekers set in the population of 
Victoria swelled like a hill-stream in spate. It rose in 1852 
from 97,000 to 168,000 ; the next year saw 54,000 added to this 
total ; and the next after that 90,000 more — an increase of 
nearly 222 per cent, within three years ! It was a good 
providence for Australian Methodism that the crisis found at 
the head of its affairs men of wisdom and resource and of 
strong faith, like Boyce and Butters. The Church at Melbourne, 
moreover, rose to the emergency with admirable courage and 
self-sacrifice. Butters writes to the Missionary Committee in 
January, 1852 : 

It is impossible to imagine the wild excitement which has been 
induced by the discovery of gold of ' surpassing richness,' and the effects 
which have followed in every department of our work. At the date of 
the discovery everything [in the Church] was in a healthy and flourishing 
condition. . . . But the gold has sadly disarranged our plans. Many 
of our members, and more than half our Local Preachers, are scattered 
over these extensive goldfields . . . there is manifest danger lest the 
all-absorbing subject of the day should turn aside their minds and 
hearts from things spiritual. . . . An immense population will soon 
be attracted to this place. About 1,000 persons arrived from Van 
Diemen's Land and Adelaide yesterday, and thousands more are coming. 

At the Quarterly Meeting of September last (1851), held 
antecedently to the public reports about the gold-deposits, 
' twelve of those present,' he states, had ' engaged to contribute 
or collect £5 each toward the passage and outfit of two Ministers 
frcm England, if they can be sent at once.' The altered 
circumstances ' increase the urgency of the case.' Butters 
goes on to say : 

This Circuit ought to be divided into three, with two Preachers in 
Melbourne, one in Collingwood, and one at Brighton. . . . Then, at a 
distance of about eighty miles, is Mount Alexander, where there are 
between 20,000 and 30,000 persons digging, amongst whom are hundreds 

is due, not only to the unsettlement of mind caused by the great dislocation and to 
shyness toward strangers in a strange land, but frequently to the uncertainty of in- 
comers as to their future residence (they think they will make themselves known 
when they are settled ! ) ; in many instances also to the fact that the immigrants had 
in some way failed at home and fallen into reduced circumstances, and their pride 
dictated a wish to remain unknown. 


of our members without any Wesleyan Minister, except as they are 
visited from Melbourne. The brethren felt the circumstances of these 
people so much as to determine that, although Melbourne itself needed 
additional help, yet it should send up one of its number [of Ministers] 
to devote his undivided attention to them. 

Latrobe promised, on the Government's behalf, liberal grants 
in aid of the efforts made by the Churches to overtake the 
spiritual destitution of the goldfields, wisely declaring that 

in his opinion no police agency or physical force of any kind could 
control the herds of men thronging to this area ; Ministers of religion 
to preach to the people, and schools for their children . . . could alone 
modify and control the violent passions of the digging population. 

In consequence of the concerted measures taken by the civil 
and ecclesiastical authorities prompt provision was made for 
this necessity, and made in a degree which, if not fully adequate, 
was timely and effective. There has seldom been anywhere 
so sudden and large a congestion of population, containing so 
many dangerous elements, yet marked by so little of crime and 
civil disorder. This comparative exception was due to the 
strength of the moral and religious influences rapidly brought 
to bear on the situation. 

Samuel Waterhouse was the first Preacher to appear on the 
scene at Mount Alexander. He prepared the way for others, 
but his removal left the field for a moment unoccupied. A 
successor appeared from an unexpected quarter. A large 
proportion of the male population of Adelaide had crossed the 
border to search for gold. The churches of South Australia 
were half-emptied, and the Preachers of that colony saw much 
of their occupation gone for the time. Promptly the Adelaide 
Superintendent, the sagacious Daniel Draper, directed his 
young colleague — John Christian Symons, formerly of 
Melbourne — to follow the trekkers to the goldfields. Symons' 
instructions were to seek out and keep together the South 
Australian Methodist diggers ; further, to collect funds for the 
derelict chapels of his District, some of which were desperately 
straitened through the removal of their supporters ; but chiefly 
to preach the Gospel at every opportunity, and save souls 
wherever he could in this needy field. He was expected to 
return to Adelaide in six months' time. Symons fulfilled his 
commission in every particular except the last ; instead of 


returning in six months he remained in Victoria sixteen years. 
First reporting himself to Butters at Melbourne, he proceeded 
to Mount Alexander, where he pitched his tent (literally) 
right amongst the diggers, and became thoroughly conversant 
with their life. He made himself the friend and brother of 
the miners, throwing clerical conventions to the winds. He 
came upon a few Ministers who had joined in the gold-hunt ; 
others, living near by, paid visits to the mines. Symons was 
for a considerable time the only Protestant Minister resident on 
the spot, and devoted, on behalf of the wild and scrambling 
seekers of the soil's treasure, to Christ's ' one thing needful.' 
Later he was joined by a probationer from Tasmania, whose 
health, however, early gave way under the strain. 

In March, 1852, Symons held his first public services on the 
goldfields. July of the same year witnessed the opening, on 
' Wesley Hill/ of a slab-built, canvas-roofed chapel, which was 
reared by the hands of the Preacher and his miner friends. 
Butters visited from Melbourne as many of the gold-mine 
stations as he could, where he rallied around him Local 
Preachers and Class-leaders — some of them recalled to duty 
from backsliding — and setting them to work. Amongst the 
diggers were a number of Cornishmen fresh from England — 
next to the Irish immigrants these have been the most 
important lay propagators of Methodism in the colonies. They 
brought the Methodist fire with them to the new world ; their 
enthusiasm, united with their general consistent piety and their 
fearlessness, won a singular respect amongst the wild, reckless 
men who abounded at the diggings. 

The Melbourne Chairman's letter we have quoted aroused the 
Missionary Committee at home. At the same time the English 
newspapers were full of the sensational doings in Victoria, and 
a lively interest in this field was awakened throughout the 
country. Secretary Osborn replied on behalf of the Mission 
House, promising four recruits to the Melbourne staff, to be 
sent without delay ; each of the four Secretaries wrote privately 
to Butters in terms of counsel and encouragement. This time, 
at any rate, Australian appeals were not to be disregarded. 
Three new men were almost immediately dispatched. Of 
these, Thomas Raston and Richard Hart had seen some service 
in Sierra Leone ; though disabled for the Western African 
work, they were qualified for vigorous toil in Australia. The 


third was Isaac Harding, an excellent candidate of that year, 
who served the colony well for years to come. Other helpers 
were secured from neighbouring Districts ; and the Stations 
of 1852, as compared with those of 1851, show the number of 
Circuits in the Victoria section 1 of the District raised from 
three to six, of the Ministers from four to nine ; in 1853 the 
Circuits on the list are ten, and the Travelling Preachers 
thirteen. The Church membership at the latter date is 
registered at the figure of 1,190, being more than doubled in 
three years. 

The distress of the poorer immigrants disembarked at 
Melbourne during the first rush was pitiable. 

Multitudes are daily arriving, and what is their reception ? [asked 
a public speaker at the town's meeting called to consider the crisis]. 
They are landed in mud, and crammed to suffocation in uncomfortable 
abodes. Many, without shelter, without friends, and without money, 
find nothing before them but an early grave. They bring with them, 
perhaps, the savings of years ; but in a few days they are penniless ; 
and often is seen the poor emigrant's funeral, without a single mourner 
following him to the tomb. 

Despair of mind and disease of body seized on the victims 
lured by the gleam of gold to the El Dorado of the South Seas, 
who found the bare necessities of life unprocurable amongst 
the swarms of fellow adventurers thronging the distracted port 
and speedily exhausting its limited provision in the way of 
lodging and food. With a view to meet the emergency a 
' Wesleyan Immigrants' Home ' was quickly put up under 
Butters' leadership, which cost £4,000 to build, beside the 
price paid for the site. Of this sum £1,000 was contributed by 
the Government ; Methodist laymen came forward with large 
subscriptions. The institution was undenominational in its 
benefits ; but it was placed under the rules of management 
prescribing decency of behaviour and simple religious 
observances ; its use was restricted to the recently landed and 
homeless. Within the first five months of its existence the 
Immigrants' Home sheltered more than a thousand people in 
the sorest straits ; it was built to furnish 150 beds, and charged 
for its entertainment less than half the tariff-rates of respect- 
able boarding-houses in the city. An additional hostel was 

1 The name of Australia Felix was now changed to Victoria 


subsequently provided by Government, but the Wesleyan 
Church showed the way. 1 

During the early months of gold-mining in Victoria the 
success of the diggers was astounding ; gold was brought into 
Melbourne by whole tons ! Business was hugely stimulated 
in the city ; profits and wages in all employments rose by leaps 
and bounds ; and men with the faculty of money-getting 
amassed large fortunes, though their wealth failed to command 
the comforts within reach of moderate means in a settled 
country. Methodists shared in the flood of prosperity, and 
showed themselves forward to give their Church the benefit of 
their advance in fortune. The years 1852 to 1854 saw Circuit 
debts wiped out, and church buildings multiplied in Melbourne 
and the neighbourhood. The cost of the erections of this 
period, owing to the inflated prices of labour and materials, 
was almost fabulous. At the Melbourne meeting held in 
May, 1853, in honour of the Rev. Robert Young, who was 
visiting the Australian Churches on deputation from the British 
Conference, a request was made on behalf of the colony for six 
additional Ministers, and the sum of £600 was promised on the 
spot, within a few moments, toward the expense of sending 

By the year 1854 the gold-fever was declining. The acces- 
sible surface metal had been got, and the output came down to 
a quarter of its previous rate. General prices dropped to an 
approximately normal level. The amazingly successful diggers 
of the virgin fields had retired to enjoy their gains or to invest 
them in other directions ; intoxicated by success, not a few of 
these flung their riches away as quickly as they had won them 
— penniless they came to Australia, and penniless they left it. 
The reaction brought upon Melbourne a sharp commercial 
crisis, which involved many in poverty and distress. But the 
new townships that had sprung up in and around the goldfields 
remained a solid acquisition to the colony ; gold-mining became 

1 Bishop Berry, who worked hand-in-hand with Latrobe and Butters at this 
crisis, publicly said, in regretting the slowness with which Anglican machinery was 
brought to bear on the situation : ' Other bodies of Christians, the Wesleyans in 
particular, do succeed in making some, if not altogether an adequate, provision, even 
for such a population as that upon the goldfields of Victoria. \ Every Church was 
put upon its mettle ; the Presbyterians especially took a large'share in the spiritual 
results achieved under the immense stimulus given by the gold discovery to the 
Colony. At the present time, three-fourths of the population of Victoria are counted 
as Protestants ; about half of these are claimed by the Anglican Church, and 
something less than a fourth belong to the Presbyterian and Methodist Churches 


a settled and still lucrative industry ; and the enormous capital 
which had been acquired from this source found outlets in 
agriculture and the setting up of manifold industries. 

The activity of the Churches — Methodism . being foremost 
amongst them in evangelical and philanthropic exertions — 
and the high principles, sustained on the whole by pure and 
efficient administration, that distinguished the Government 
of the country, prevented the demoralization apt to result from 
a sudden and great accession of wealth, which the influx of a 
swarm of hungry adventurers and undesirables from every 
quarter of the globe was calculated to aggravate in the highest 
degree. Victorian society, born out of the gold-fever, presented, 
it is true, features far from admirable. Mammon- worship 
and a coarse materialism asserted themselves ; the ostentation 
and vulgarity characteristic of the nouveaux riches, 
enhanced in Australia by the crudeness and want of restraint 
natural to the manners of a new colony, were sufficiently 
in evidence. Notwithstanding these excrescences and 
extravagances, the life of Melbourne and of the new State of 
Victoria showed a sound core. Religion was respected, moral 
principle was vindicated ; philanthropy flourished ; business 
integrity and a virtuous family life prevailed ; a high standard 
of public honour was set up ; and politics, if somewhat turbulent, 
were free from mercenary corruption and animated by a 
genuine patriotism. What is said here of Victoria is true of the 
Australian States throughout. The basis of a sound citizen- 
ship was created, and the foundations of the Commonwealth 
into which the colonies have coalesced were laid down in the 
first shaping of those States by high-principled men possessed 
of a sense of religious duty and responsibility to their fellows. 
So the country surmounted the moral dangers that threatened 
its infancy — dangers due to the sources from which, and the 
conditions under which, in the case of the two leading colonies, 
the original settlement was effected. This happy escape must 
be attributed largely, under God, to missionary influence, to 
the power exerted by the Gospel of Christ in the hearts and 
lives of the first generation of colonists. 

The Missionary Committee, amidst its great difficulties and 
embarrassments, gave unstinted help to Melbourne, which was 
so strenuously helping itself in the hour of need and oppor- 
tunity. The Missionary Society had a further motive for dealing 


generously with Australia just now, in the fact that it was 
planning to set Methodism there upon its own feet ; its purpose 
was to devolve on the colonies, now that they were coming into 
their fortune, the prosecution not only of the missionary work 
within their own borders, but also in the vast heathen archi- 
pelago beyond. The larger the aid afforded them at this crisis 
the more would the Australian people be encouraged, and the 
better empowered to shoulder the burden it was intended to 
lay upon them. Seven new men were designated for the 
Victorian missionary staff in 1853, in answer to the appeal made 
through Robert Young. These were James Bickford, « who had 
given thirteen years of faithful labour to the West Indies and 
devoted the rest of his life to these colonies— he was placed in 
the Chair of the Australasian Conference in 1868 ; James S. 
Waugh, an Irish Preacher of fourteen years' standing, and a 
man of striking ability and wide usefulness, who held the office of 
Connexional Editor for a considerable period— raised to the 
Conference Chair in 1865, and a second time (when he had 
become Dr. Waugh) in 1881 ; William Poole Wells, who had 
' endured hardness ' previously in Newfoundland, and exercised 
a valued and popular ministry here at the other side of the 
world ; William Hill, transferred hither from Ceylon—' one of 
the most accomplished and scholarly of Ministers 2 ; Theophilus 
Taylor, ' a man of fine intellectual powers and a great pioneer 
worker,' who early finished his course. 8 Three of the above 
new-comers had seen foreign service elsewhere. Australia had 
the advantage of supplying a more healthful climate and a 
suitable sphere for men of talent and missionary zeal whose 
constitution was found unsuited to other fields of labour. The 
men now drafted to the colonies came out under the altered 
conditions involved in the formation of the Affiliated Con- 
ference. They were received, not as English Missionaries, but 
as ' Australian Ministers,' transferred from the direction and 
jurisdiction of the British Conference to the newly created 
authority, and no longer open to employment in English 

1 Tames Bickford's reminiscences and estimates of men and things, contained 
in the volume entitled Christian Work in Australasia, have been of much service to the 
present author. Bickford became a thorough Australian in sentiment and 
standpoint. . 

- This good man met his death under sad circumstances, bemg killed by a blow 
received from a prisoner whom he was visiting in gaol. 

^ The names of the other two fellow voyagers with the above-mentioned scarcely 
appear on the Australian Stations. For some reason or other, they seem to have 
failed in probation. 


Circuits. From this date recruits enlisted in Britain ior the 
Australian ministry became strictly colonials, and took the 
new country for their home. 

By the year 1855, when the Australasian Conference was 
constituted, the District of Victoria — or, rather (as it had been 
denominated for ten years), the Victorian section of the 
Australian District — had wonderfully expanded. The three 
Circuits which Butters in 185 1 would have wished to see carved 
out of the one Circuit of Melbourne were now in existence, 
being known as ' Melbourne West,' ' East,' and ' South.' They 
employed six Ministers, one of these (the District Chairman) 
being put in charge of the Immigrants' Home. Geelong Circuit 
had two Preachers ; Portland but one, as formerly. The 
added Circuit stations included Brighton, Williamstown, Pent- 
ridge, Warrambool, and six distinct ' Goldfield ' Stations, 
amongst which Ballarat makes its appearance — twenty Circuits 
in all, with seventeen regular Ministers assigned to them. The 
vacancies are filled up with a rich variety of promissory notes — 
' One to be sent,' ' One requested,' ' One wanted,' ' One 
earnestly requested,' ' One expected from England.' The 
harvest truly was great, and was crying on all hands for added 
labourers. The Church membership of the District stood at 
1,955, while the adherents were reckoned at about ten times as 
many. Within five years the little Methodist Church of 
Victoria had multiplied by nearly fourfold, surpassing the 
unexampled rate of growth of the colonial population. In 
numbers the Victorian District of five years' standing was not 
much behind the forty-years-old District of New South Wales. 
In the Goldfield Circuits alone there were 505 members of 
Society, 53 Local Preachers, 737 Sunday scholars, and over 
4,000 attendants at Methodist public worship. But the 
Churches of this colony had an immense task before them in 
seeking to Christianize the heterogeneous multitude of people 
thrown upon their hands. 

William Butters in 1855 exchanged places with Daniel J. 
Draper, who was transferred to Melbourne from Adelaide, 
becoming the first Chairman of the Victoria District under the 
new order. Butters had spent four strenuous years in Victoria, 
where he had witnessed and influentially assisted in a trans- 
formation among the most rapid and astonishing recorded in 
the history of any community. His energy and judgement, 


his courageous faith and commanding personal influence, 
secured for the little Church he shepherded a leading spiritual 
part in the course of development through which the group of 
agricultural settlements at the head of Port Phillip grew into a 
populous mining and commercial province. Nowhere else has 
colonial life advanced at such a speed, and seldom has its 
advance taken place under better auspices ; in no other period 
or place has Methodism taken larger and swifter strides forward. 
To William Butters in chief is to be ascribed the success with 
which our Church met this most critical emergency. He was 
supported by a united Society in healthy spiritual condition, 
and by able and devoted colleagues. 

At the same time the statesmanship of William Boyce, and 
the powers he possessed as General Superintendent to bring the 
resources of the Missionary Society to bear on the situation, 
counted for much in the result achieved at Melbourne. And 
the Mission House at home deserves credit for its promptitude 
in recognizing the opportunity, for its unstinted sympathy, 
and the speedy reinforcements supplied to the men at the front. 


The Australian Land Company — Methodist Colonists — Adelaide — 
William Longbottom and John Eggleston — A Conflict of Interests — 
Copper-mines — Accessions to the Church — Daniel J. Draper — The 
Pirie Street Church — A Set-back and Recovery — Returns of Member- 
ship in 1854. Western Australia — The Forerunners of the Missionary — 
Hardey and Clarkson — John Smithies at Perth — A lonely Station — 
Samuel Hardey — Statistics. 

South Australia in point of fact is Mid Australia ; for the 
Province of this name extends across the continent, the 
Northern Territory beyond the Tropic of Capricorn, which was 
reached by explorers from the south, having been assigned to 
its government. Between the two sections of the province 
stretches a vast waterless desert, crossed by the slender chain 
of the Overland Telegraph Line and the post track running 
beside it. The Northern Territory remains but little developed ; 
it numbers at the present time scarcely more than 7,000 White 
inhabitants. A single Methodist Minister works there, 
stationed at Palmerston, the chief town, situated on the coast, 
from which a railway runs 100 miles inland. 

South Australia proper lies west of Victoria and New South 
Wales. Captain Flinders first explored its coast in 1802. Not 
till the year 1835 did its occupation commence, simultaneously 
with that of Australia Felix. 1 Four years earlier a ' South 
Australian Land Company ' had been formed in England, with 
a view to providing in the region about the Spencer and St. 
Vincent Gulfs new homes for struggling English folk. This 
enterprise was a first experiment in systematic colonization 
upon the lines laid down by Edward Gibbon Wakefield, whose 
theories were afterwards applied, on a larger scale, to the 
settlement of New Zealand. The aforesaid company had the 
new country to itself. No private settlers were in the field ; 
the Natives were regarded as a negligible quantity, being 

1 Victoria. 


scattered tribes of ill-armed nomads. With some difficulty, 
after much curtailment and modification of its plans, the 
company secured by Act of Parliament permission to proceed, 
and enlisted a body of emigrants suitable for its purposes. The 
promoters were viewy and romantic in some of their notions, 
expecting, as it would appear, to reproduce the English rural 
economy, with its system of landlords, tenant-farmers, and 
labourers, in the Australian fields ; but amongst them were men 
of liberal minds and high religious aims. 

No offshoot from the United Kingdom owed more to religious senti- 
ments and philanthropic motives than did this adventure, unless it be 
the exodus of the Pilgrim Fathers to America in the Mayflower. 

George Fife Angus, the Chairman of the S.A. Company, to 
whom the equipment and direction of the first expedition were 
due, wrote thus in his Diary, afterwards published, under date 
January 26, 1836 : 

As far as is in my power, in the appointment of managers, officers, 
and men for the company, I have sought out and engaged those who 
fear God ; and when I could not do this, I took the next best. ... I 
trust the present movement will lay the foundation of a new kingdom 
in truth and righteousness ; I pray that the power and influence put 
into my hands may be used for His glory and for the good of the people 
of South Australia. 1 

The first contingent of settlers reaching the South Australian 
shores formed a complete contrast in character to those landed 
fifty years earlier in New South Wales. Their leaders, more- 
over, had the advantage of the lessons learnt through past 
experience of Australian colonization. 

The superior emigrant company was conveyed in three 
vessels, the first to reach the rendezvous (on July 27, 1836) 
being the Duke of York, which sailed under a Methodist captain 
of the name of Morgan. On board this ship was Samuel 
Stephens, 2 manager of the company, a member of the same 
Church. On disembarking, the first act of the passengers was 
to kneel in thanksgiving to God for their safe voyage and happy 

1 See the interesting sketch of Methodism in South Australia by Dr. H. T. 
Burgess, in Colwell's A Century in the Pacific (C H. Kelly), p. 302. 

'This gentleman was the son of John Stephens, President of the British 
Conference in 1827, and the brother of John Rayner Stephens, the first Methodist 
Missionary to Stockholm. 


arrival, the captain being their mouthpiece. Thus the great 
colony of South Australia, like that of Victoria, was conse- 
crated at its inception by the prayer of faith. The three ships 
contained a large proportion of Methodists ; these appear to 
have already organized on the way out a little Society, with 
regular preaching and Sunday school. The managers' house, 
so soon as built, was used for Divine service ; and when the 
party shortly removed from their landing-place in Holdfast 
Bay, to the banks of the Torrens River, where they permanently 
settled and laid the foundations of Adelaide, 1 the spacious 
kitchen of Edward Stephens (Samuel's brother) became the 
Methodist meeting-place. Here the first stated Society in 
South Australia was formed on May n, 1837. It consisted of 
fifteen members, with two Class-leaders, John C. White and 
Jacob Abbott, whose names are cherished with veneration to 
this day. * 

Without waiting for ecclesiastical authority or pastoral oversight 
[the fifteen Methodist lay-folk] proceeded in as regular and orderly a 
fashion as though they had both. Their piety was nourished by their 
Class-meetings. They arranged for public services, prayer- meetings, 
and a Sunday school. They appointed officers, examined and 
accredited Local Preachers, fixed the times of collections and Church 
meetings, prepared a Plan, and told off one of their number for special 
work among the Aborigines (Burgess). 

In fact, they constituted themselves a Church of Christ in the 
largest sense. The band of Methodist colonists, thrown upon a 
foreign shore at the ends of the earth, exhibited the English 
genius for self-help and self-government, for social organization 
in religious as in civil matters. Early Methodism developed in 
its people this faculty all over the world. 

Three important negatives were laid down in the founding of 
the colony of South Australia : (1) It should never be a charge 
upon the mother country ; (2) it should never be saddled with 
a State Church ; (3) no convict settlement should be planted 
on its territory. From the beginning the community rested 

1 The city bears the name of good Queen Adelaide, wife of William IV. 

1 White had been a Local Preacher in London, and would have entered the 
ministry but for a breakdown in health. At a later period he gave himself up to 
religious work in the colonies, pursuing the life of a pioneer lay Missionary in ' the 
bush.' Abbot lived to be the patriarch of Adelaide Methodism. The two men, who 
had been close friends, after forty years of separation happened to meet on a Sacra- 
mental occasion in Adelaide, forty-four years to a day after their appointment to the 
joint leadership. 


on a kind of municipal basis, which occasioned troublesome 
political friction ; but it was provided, like other colonies, with 
a Governor under appointment by the Crown. At the arrival 
of the first Governor, whose name was Hindmarsh, British 
rule was proclaimed, on December 28, 1836, and the Province 
of South Australia was formally constituted. Hindmarsh 
soon retired, to be succeeded in office by George Gawler, a man 
of Puritan simplicity and severity, who in 1841 was compelled 
to resign through refusing to admit Roman Catholics to equal 
religious rights with Protestants. Gawler's successor was 
Captain (afterwards Sir) George Grey, already known as a 
daring Australian explorer, who here made his first essay in 
colonial administration. We have had occasion previously 
to refer to this eminent colonial statesman, and shall meet him 
again in the chapters relating to New Zealand and to South 
Africa. South Australia, like Victoria, offered to the Methodist 
Church a fair field, unencumbered by the Anglican prerogatives 
and official prejudices which in other colonies stood in her way 
at the beginning. To this freer opportunity may be traced 
the fact that in both these provinces, as also in Western 
Australia, Methodism holds to-day the second place amongst 
the Churches, coming next to the Church of England in the 
number of her adherents ; in South Australia the two Com- 
munions are almost upon an equality in point of numbers. 
Methodism may claim to be the mother Church of this impor- 
tant State ; she supplied the first organized Christian 
community in South Australia. 

By the end of 1837 the Methodists were ready to build their 
chapel. A plot of land for the purpose had been staked out 
in Hindley Street ; trustees were appointed ; funds began to 
be collected, and the erection of the simple structure rapidly 
proceeded, Mrs. Stephens laying the foundation-stone. In 
the following March the building was opened, within twenty 
months of the first landing. Next month a third Local 
Preacher was appointed by the Society, who was charged to 
seek out the Natives in order for their salvation. Nothing 
exhibits the Methodist character and apostolic succession of 
the self-sown Church so distinctly as this act of missionary 
consecration. The impulse was noble, however poorly 
furnished the selected agent, and however scanty the success 
achieved. The first minute-book of the Adelaide Society 


Meeting is extant, and its closing entry, dated July 2, 1838, 
gives order for making a quarterly collection in aid of Church 
funds and for the payment of Class-money to the Local 
Treasurer. The meeting protests against an injurious letter 
written by a recent preacher in the chapel to the Adelaide 
newspaper (for this precocious community had already its 
public Press !), and directs the publication of its censure ; it 
offers, moreover, a reward for the detection of the mischievous 
person who had broken the chapel window during worship on 
a recent Sunday. The little company of Methodists, bravely 
flying its flag in the new country, did not miss the blessing 
promised by Christ to the persecuted. 

Fightings within proved, however, more dangerous than 
foes without. Thrown on its own resources, the energetic 
Society, after some twelve months' existence, counted 60 
Church members, officered by 7 Leaders and 6 Local Preachers, 
with about 100 Sunday scholars. It now felt the need of a 
single directing head, especially as an Anglican Clergyman 
and a Congregational Minister 1 had by this time settled in the 
colony, and were gathering their flocks about them. Having 
in its ranks no one man of outstanding spiritual mark, the 
Society resolved to elect a Superintendent to act quarter by 
quarter. A regular Circuit Plan was then drawn up and 
published. But the rotary superintendency gave rise to 
agitation as to ' who should be greatest ' ; the peace of the 
Society was broken and its progress arrested. A welcome 
solution speedily came to this difficulty. ' We could not get 
on,' said old Father Collins in after days — one of the earliest 
Adelaide Methodists — ' for we could not agree who should be 
Superintendent ; but God pitied us, and sent us a Minister by 
wrecking one upon our coasts.' tamest and pointed prayer 
on this behalf was being offered when William Longbottom 
suddenly appeared on the scene, as if God-sent. This devoted 
and able Minister, driven by sickness from India after five 
years' service (1829-34), had recruited his health at Cape Town 
and returned to the Indian field ; but he broke down a second 
time, and was then transferred to Australia. The British 
Conference directed him to commence the Swan River Mission, 
in Western Australia ; and he was voyaging thither from 

1 The Minister of the Congregational church, formed in 1837, was T. Q. Stowe, 
' a never-to-be-forgotten and eloquent pioneer.' 


Sydney with his family when his vessel, through bad seaman- 
ship, ran ashore in Encounter Bay, some distance to the east 
of Adelaide. The shipwrecked party, after much hazard and 
hardship, 1 at last reached the colony, where the rescued Minister 
was received almost as an angel from heaven. The Society 
provided for Longbottom's necessities, and Stephens sheltered 
the family in his own house. His enfeebled health, shaken by 
the recent exposure, made Adelaide a welcome haven to the 
infirm man, who was overjoyed to find, as he reported to 
England, ' a Church well organized and prosperous, with a 
substantial place of worship, almost in the wilderness.' The 
people on the spot would not hear of Longbottom's leaving 
them, as his coming had been so manifestly providential for 
them, and he was unfit to risk another voyage. The Missionary 
authorities acquiesced in his remaining, especially as ' there 
was a promise of usefulness among the Aborigines ' ; a substitute 
was found for Swan River after some delay. 

The Adelaide Methodists quickly recognized the treasure 
thrown into their lap in the shipwrecked man. Longbottom 
was an attractive and telling preacher, and a most endearing 
pastor. Though his condition of health forbade his making 
distant journeys, he organized the Circuit well, and every one 
was willing to be at his orders. The Hindley Street Church soon 
proved too strait, and the Society set about to rear a larger, the 
Stephens family furnishing a site in Gawler Place. 2 The new 
edifice, which cost £2,000, was opened in July, 1839 ; the South 
Australian Methodists have never allowed ' the grass to grow 
under their feet.' This expenditure went, however, beyond the 
people's strength, and the chapel remained for long encum- 
bered with debt. It housed the church passably well until 
it was superseded in 1851 by the present Pirie Street 
sanctuary. , 

1 The crew and passengers of the Fanny, a 25-ton brig, in which Longbottom 
sailed, were stranded with a good supply of provisions, but without chart or compass, 
and knew not how to move. For a month they wandered among the sandhills, when 
they encountered another shipwrecked party, which had lost its provisions but saved 
its nautical instruments ! Through this good Providence both ships' companies were 
saved. By mutual assistance they struggled to a whaling-station in Encounter Bay, 
the natives on the way proving friendly and helping them with food. From this 
point one of the captains walked to Adelaide to secure help. The Methodists there, 
hearing of Longbottom's plight, at once chartered a vessel which brought all the 
travellers to port. 

2 The older building was purchased for the Baptists by a Mr. McLaren, father 
of the illustrious Alexander McLaren of Manchester, who was the second Colonial 
manager of the South Australian Company. Thus the Hindley Street Chapel served 
as the cradle of two Colonial Churches in turn. 


After a manful struggle with declining health, Longbottom 
was compelled, by the year 1840, to seek an easier sphere in 
Tasmania. The two years of his ministry in South Australia 
were epoch-making. He had brought peace and contentment, 
with good discipline, to a distracted Society. He had gathered 
a relatively large congregation in the city, had seen a com- 
modious chapel built, and gathered a Church around him of 
more than a hundred members. While unable to itinerate far 
from the capital, he had directed the labours of a zealous band 
of Local Preachers, who carried the Gospel to the borders of this 
rapidly extending colony. He had formed on the basis of the 
independent Society he found at Adelaide a widespread and 
vigorous Circuit in loyal connexion with the Wesleyan Church, 
which was penetrating the whole life of the province. ' Seldom,' 
it was said, ' have pastor and people parted with greater and 
more sincere regard for one another ' than did William Long- 
bottom and his flock at Adelaide. Five years afterwards, when 
the church was again in difficulties, he returned to this beloved 
spot at the people's request, and restored them to tranquillity. 
But his health was now quite shattered, and a year later he 
became a supernumerary. He lingered out his remaining days 
(till 1849) at Adelaide, amongst friends who tenderly waited 
on his needs. 

In John Eggleston, Longbottom 's successor, the Adelaide 
Circuit found a vigorous and enthusiastic young leader, 
respected by all classes of the people. The Society flourished 
and multiplied, and a revival took place, through which many 
souls were saved and the spirit of religion was deepened in the 
colony ; a local Auxiliary of the Missionary Society was 
formed. But in less than two years Eggleston's health suc- 
cumbed. The effects of his excessive toil were aggravated by a 
season of abnormal heat, and by the unhealthiness of the 
residence assigned him — an improvement upon Longbottom 's 
hut, but still far from suitable. 1 

Eggleston's brief career marked another stride in the advance 
of South Australian Methodism. He left behind him a Church 
of nearly 300 members, and a Circuit Plan embracing more than 

1 In point of house provision the Adelaide Methodists failed toward their pastor 
— housing in the Colony generally must have been at this early date rude enough. 
The manse was little more than an incommodious, insanitary hut. Eggleston's 
health failed from this cause, as Longbottom's had done before him, and the people 
suffered through the tribulation of their ministers. 


30 preaching-places, with four or five chapels, served by about 
25 Local Preachers, beside Exhorters. This was the high-water 
mark of Methodism in the colony for some time. 

The next incumbent of the Adelaide superintendency was 
less happy in his appointment. This was John C. Weatherstone, 
a man of some excellent qualities and much missionary zeal, 
but who failed to suit the colonial temper. He wrote on his 
arrival in an apprehensive tone : 

Both my predecessors have fallen in harness, and been obliged to 
leave ; and if a man had an iron constitution it would be worn out. 
There are 6,000 inhabitants. 

He believed that God called him to seek the salvation of the 
despised and despaired-of Natives, while the colonists at 
Adelaide claimed his whole attention. With uncommon 
industry he had compiled a vocabulary of nearly 1,000 words 
in the vernacular of the Murray River Blacks, and he begged 
to be set apart to labour amongst these tribes, whose confidence 
he seems to have gained. But at that time no Missionary 
could be spared for such work, though this was the prime 
objective of the Missionary Society and from the commence- 
ment had been cherished by the Australian Mission. Colonial 
demand thrust the case of the Aborigines into the background, 
and the attempts made to evangelize this hapless people had 
so far proved dismal and costly failures. In every one's 
thoughts, ' Australians ' had come to mean not the indigenous 
people, but the British usurpers. Weatherstone's heart was 
with the Natives ; it appears to have been for this reason that 
his ministry to the settlers miscarried — if it was not actually 
neglected. The people fell away from him, and with a depleted 
congregation the debt on the Gawler Place Chapel became a 
crippling burden. A large secession took place, carrying away 
some of the most active members, whose attachment to the 
Church had probably been a matter of affection toward the 
earlier Ministers more than of principle. The seceders formed 
an ' Australian Methodist Society ' of their own, reviving the 
independency which existed before the coming of William 
Longbottom. Bankruptcy threatened the Circuit, the income 
of which for the quarter ending June, 1844, was absolutely nil, 
the entire expenditure being debited to the Missionary Society ! 
Poor Weatherstone could remain no longer ; he withdrew to 


Sydney, and soon returned disheartened to England, retiring 
from the ministry at the Conference of 1845, to which he seems 
to have been lost because he might not follow his proper bent. 

Minister and people both made their report of the rupture 
to head quarters. The Chairman of the District, unable to 
visit the spot from Sydney, was completely at a loss. In the 
other colonies the South Australians bore the reputation of 
being restless and headstrong. This estimate, says Symons, 
Daniel Draper's biographer, who knew them well, ' was 
erroneous, resulting from want of knowledge. . . . The Society 
in general were a warmhearted, earnest, and generous people. 
. . . They only needed a leader.' He puts down the quarrels 
of 1842 to 1844 mainly to mismanagement during that period, 
and partly to the ill-health of Longbottom and Eggleston in 
previous years, in consequence of which Circuit affairs from 
the beginning had been somewhat out of hand, and the energetic 
laymen had become too much of a law to themselves. 

At the very moment when South Australian affairs were 
under discussion in Sydney, Longbottom arrived there on his 
removal from Tasmania to take up work in the mother Circuit 
On the appeal of the Chairman, M'Kenny, he consented to 
return to the distracted church of Adelaide. 

A wiser arrangement [writes Symons] could not have been adopted . 
Intimately acquainted with the place, the people, and their former 
history, Mr. Longbottom was well qualified to secure the confidence of 
those who remained behind, while his conciliatory spirit, together with 
his earlier connexion with them, enabled him to place himself in friendly 
communication with those who had withdrawn, and to seek their 
reunion with the Church. 

Under the winning influence of their old pastor most of the 
seceders returned to the fold. The broken ties were reknit ; 
the empty churches began to fill once more ; and both spiritual 
and financial prosperity were restored. But the effects of the 
disruption never quite disappeared. William Longbottom had 
saved South Australian Methodism, his own child in the 

While the above crisis was taking place in the Church, the 
fortunes of the colony entered on a. new phase through the 
opening of the copper-mines. The metal was first discovered 
in 1842. Three years later extensive mining operations began 


upon the deposits at Burra Burra, which proved to be of extra- 
ordinary richness. Immigrant miners poured into the colony at 
such a rate that its population was trebled within the next 
seven years. Though not so rapid as that which overwhelmed 
Melbourne a little later, nor containing elements so various and 
difficult to deal with, the influx was wholly unexpected ; it gave 
a fresh importance and an altered character to this agri- 
cultural outpost of the colonies. Fortunately unity and 
confidence had been restored in the Church when the revolution 
came about, so that the Methodist congregations and Societies 
were prepared to offer a hearty welcome to the new-comers. 
At this juncture, too, William Boyce was at hand, armed, as 
General Superintendent, with power to take prompt action. 
He quickly grasped the situation, and recognized that South 
Australia demanded the strongest and ablest missionary leader 
he could find. His choice fell upon Daniel James Draper, his 
second in command at Sydney. It meant a sacrifice both for 
Draper himself and for the work in New South Wales to remove 
him just then; but, on the presentation of the case, he readily 
volunteered, and by September, 1846, was found established, 
with his wife and child, at Adelaide. 1 (Longbottom, as stated 
above, was now ' sitting down,' in consequence of the final 
failure of his health, so long precarious.) In prospect of the 
great extension of the work an energetic young colleague was 
provided for the new Superintendent in the person of John 
Harcourt. The house in which Eggleston sickened had been 
condemned as unfit for occupation, and a decent and 
commodious manse was built by the exertions of the people. 
Draper was well received, and showed himself at once the 
right man in the right place. 

A new cause of contention arose at this time which but for 
Draper's judicious handling might again have rent the Church. 
A Colonial Act of Council had been recently passed empowering 
the Government, on application from any duly qualified 
Minister of religion, to make a grant in aid of his church 
proportionate to the number of sittings regularly occupied in 
its place of worship, subject to deduction for unlet sittings ; a 
maximum limit was fixed to the total sum available for such 
distribution. Small bounties were also offered from the 

1 According to the Minutes, Draper remained at Sydney and Jonathan Innes 
was sent to Adelaide. But the list of Foreign Stations there printed was in those 
times recognized as provisional, and subject to local alterations. 


colonial treasury to promote the erection of churches and 
parsonages. The public authorities were concerned at the 
religious dearth of the colony, and sensible of the injuries to 
the State resulting therefrom ; they desired to encourage the 
several churches already at work, hampered as they were by 
poverty, in their efforts to meet the people's wants. Previously 
to the passing of this remarkable Act the hard-pressed trustees 
of Gawler Street Chapel had approached Governor Grey with a 
petition for help toward liquidating the debt upon that fabric, 
and toward meeting the current expense of ' supporting the 
ordinances of religion ' in the colony. To this application a 
friendly reply was made, intimating that ' the subject was 
under consideration ' ; the aforesaid Act of Council was taken 
to be a response to this and similar appeals from the struggling 
infant churches of the province. Draper found the plan of 
all-round subsidies already in operation, and the Methodist 
Societies availing themselves of the benefit. He found also a 
minority of his Church stubbornly opposed to State dependence 
and fixed in Nonconformist principles. He adopted an impartial 
attitude, regarding the point at issue as a matter of politics 
lying outside of Methodist law and usage. The Trustees and 
the people, he said, must act upon their own judgement, 
guided by local necessities and sentiments. The subject was 
repeatedly discussed in the Adelaide Quarterly Meeting, always 
with the same result — that a large majority accepted the 
proffered kindness, especially for the benefit of outlying and 
wholly destitute settlements, while the minority condemned 
the transaction, and the three Ministers (Draper, Harcourt, 
and Longbottom) held themselves neutral. The Quarterly 
Meeting of October, 1848, closed the discussion, argument 
being now more than exhausted, and a hurtful agitation kept 
up through the Societies. The Church in the end lost more 
through this cause than the disputed doles were worth. It was 
a relief when, at the close of 1851, after a heated political con- 
test turning largely on this question, the Legislature 
discontinued the ecclesiastical grants-in-aid. 

The discontent of the radical Methodist minority culminated 
early in that year at certain meetings held to denounce the 
pecuniary connexion of Church and State, when disgraceful 
imputations were made against the Wesleyan Ministers. 
Amongst the offenders were three Local Preachers, who, on 


being called to account for the slander and put on trial before 
the Local Preachers' Meeting, were found guilty, by the 
unanimous vote of their fellows, including some who shared 
their views about the obnoxious grants, and suspended from 
office. The condemned men remained impenitent ; but the 
Society as a whole rallied to the defence of its Ministers, who 
bore themselves with patience and moderation. The painful 
episode passed over with little permanent injury to Methodism. 
Reflecting on this period, Draper's biographer writes : 

While the grant was offered to all, without any claim on the part of 
the Government to interfere in Church arrangements, he used it wisely 
and well, 1 

while he anticipated that the disbursement would before long 
be ' withdrawn from all denominations ' and fully acquiesced 
in its cessation. He regarded it as an emergency measure, 
of disputable policy, with which the Church did well to concur 
for the time. Symons pronounces that ' the just meed of 
sagacity, disinterestedness, and zeal must be awarded ' to his 
hero, and that ' the present position of Methodism in South 
Australia (in 1870) is largely due to the wise and firm course 
which Mr. Draper then pursued.' 

At the census of 1846 the population was found to be 22,390, 
of which number more than a tenth registered themselves as 
Methodists in religion, the Church membership being then 
about 300. Out of its small constituency the Adelaide church 
provided nearly thirty Local Preachers — an uncommonly 
large proportion, and some of them exceptionally able and 
enterprising men. South Australian Methodism has been 
peculiarly strong in this arm of service. The Superintendent 
required all the help he could muster to fill his multiplying 
pulpits. At the mining towns of Kapunda and Burra Burra, 
lying fifty and one hundred miles distant respectively from 
head quarters, large congregations were to be gathered ; the 
people suffered ' a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.' 
When the first Wesleyan chapel was opened in 1847 at the 
latter spot, amongst the population of 1,500 brought together 

1 For the year 1847 Draper reports the grant as amounting to £224, ' which for 
the present,' he says, ' is devoted to the buildings in the interior.' Such a contribution 
was welcome to the Missionary Society in its desperate endeavour to cope with the 
inrush occasioned by the opening of the Burra Burra copper-mines, with local plant 
utterly insufficient. The question of Government grants to the philanthropic work 
of the Society raised a similar storm in Canada about this time. 


within two years there was no other place of Christian worship 
within seventy miles. Cornishmen familiar with Methodist 
ordinances swarmed in the new population ; these furnished 
valuable helpers in the shape of Class-leaders and Local 
Preachers. Draper and Harcourt, who made incessant 
journeys at this time with heavy toil and hardship, were success- 
ful in winning the attachment of the miners, and saw happy 
conversions amongst them. In 1848 the Circuit secured a 
third Minister, posted at ' the North Mines.' This was John 
C. Thrum, a young man enlisted in New South Wales and 
drafted to this District, who was esteemed for his ' moral worth 
and excellent character, both as a man and a preacher.' His 
course was cut short in its early promise ; within a year of 
coming to the North Mines he fell grievously ill, and was 
compelled to retire from the work. 

The Church was now receiving constant accessions ; in the 
Minutes of 1849 ^ * s credited with 551 members. The one 
Circuit was divided into three, and in the following year into 
four, Willunga — twenty miles south of Adelaide — figuring as 
a Circuit centre along with Burra Burra and Kapunda. Corre- 
sponding additions, for which local maintenance was forth- 
coming, were made to the ministerial staff. 

The disabled Thrum was succeeded at Burra Burra by 
W T illiam Lowe, who has been noticed in the previous chapter. 
Harcourt was transferred to Victoria ; William C. Currey and 
John C. Symons — both locally accepted candidates — were sent 
to Draper's assistance in 1849. About this time he laid hands 
upon a young Preacher of exceptional power named Joseph 
Dare, who had lately arrived from England bearing a hearty 
recommendation from his home Minister. Bickford's predic- 
tion, made in 1858, that Dare would become ' the Robert 
Newton of the Australian Church,' fell not far short of fulfil- 
ment. Before long Dare entered the ministry, where he 
attained a great and well-used popularity. The same Quarterly 
Meeting which endorsed Dare's employment as hired Local 
Preacher welcomed to the Circuit a new Minister of rare worth 
and ripe experience in the person of Thomas T. N. Hull, who 
came to be regarded by many as the ablest Minister with which 
the Australian Church had been favoured. Those who knew 
him speak of ' his logical acumen, refined taste, exalted 
eloquence, and impressive appeals. . . . He walked with God, 



and drew men thither too.' This addition brought the South 
Australian staff up to the number of five (not including Dare). 
Hull had laboured in the Irish ministry for eleven years, when 
in 1837 he devoted himself to the Mission Field. He was 
stationed successively in the West Indies, Malta, and Gibraltar 
before his appointment to Adelaide. Here he ' travelled ' 
for four fruitful years, then for a year at Sydney. The death 
of his wife on the latter station led to his returning home to 
Ireland, where he fulfilled a further term of ministry and 
survived to a patriarchal age, dying in the year 1903. 

Draper sent to the Missionary Committee an interesting 
report in December, 1849 > ne writes : 

Our chapels are all too small by half. Building is very expensive, 
and it distracts me as to how the wants of the places are to be met. 

There is an immediate necessity, he judges, for the outlay of 
' at least £5,000 in chapel building within five miles of Adelaide.' 
This perpetual drain upon our people for chapels and the settle- 
ment of new Preachers in different places ' prevents ' our raising 
money for purposes beyond the colonies. 1 He describes 
enlargement recently made in several of the colonial chapels, 
which had already proved inadequate. But the need for a 
roomy and central chapel in Adelaide itself was that which 
weighed most upon Draper's mind. The Mission was cramped 
and disadvantaged sorely by the narrowness and the unfavour- 
able situation of the Gawler Place premises, which even now 
were not clear of debt. 

Nevertheless, Draper resolved on having a new church, 
adequate to the necessities and prospects of Methodism in the 
city. ' Few men would have had the courage to attempt ' this 
enterprise ; fewer still the ' indomitable energy and earnest 
care ' necessary for its execution. According to tradition, 
the project originated in this way : 

Walking to and fro in his study conversing with his most trusted 
friend, who afterwards became the G.O.M. of the Methodist laity, Mr. 
Draper exclaimed, ' John Colton, we want a new chapel ; we must have 
a new chapel. I'll give ^100, if you will give £100 ! ' Mr. Colton's 
laconic response was, ' Done ! ' (Burgess). 

1 Despite this straitness, the Adelaide laymen had just given a farewell breakfast 
to John Waterhouse, setting out on his missionary voyage round the South Sea 
Islands, at which £66 per annum was promised for five years in aid of his work. 


In such a case ' Well begun is half done.' The older chapels 
were rude and inelegant structures, calculated simply to hold 
as many people as possible for as little cost. Draper determined 
that the future house of God, while built with jealous economy, 
should have something ' magnifical ' about it, that in style and 
aspect it should be worthy of the city itself and of the com- 
manding site secured for it, and should embody the higher 
tastes and aspirations of the growing Church, inaugurating a 
new order of things in the Methodism of the colony. Plans 
were at once drawn up with this object in view, and collectors 
set to work. The Ministers were all eager promoters of the 
scheme ; the sympathy and united strength of the friends of 
Methodism throughout the colony were engaged for its accom- 
plishment. The first stone was laid by Governor Young in 
July, 1850, and fourteen months later the church was opened, 
when it had cost £6,200 in the erection. Much was spent upon 
the edifice later, both in the way of internal improvements and 
external additions, until a noble pile was completed in Pirie 
Street, which has been the cathedral of South Australian 
Methodism and the rallying-place of its people ever since. 
' No other ecclesiastical edifice in Adelaide,' says Burgess, ' has 
had so much effect ' on the better life of the community ; ' a 
host of religious, charitable, and philanthropic movements has 
there received impetus ; and a multitude which no man can 
number have been converted to God. ' It should be remembered 
that ' this luminous record began within fourteen years of the 
time when Adelaide was an unsurveyed, gum-tree-covered 
plateau.' The Pirie Street Church is Daniel Draper's 

This great task had scarcely been completed, and the money- 
debt it entailed was far from being discharged, when the colony 
received a shock, through the gold-discoveries in Victoria, 
which for the time completely unhinged its affairs. Who would 
not exchange copper for gold ? There was a stampede of the 
miners ; indeed, the intoxication — the auri sacra fames — seized 
all ranks of society. Within three months of the announcement 
that a ton of gold had been dispatched from Mount Alexander, 
15,000 men (leaving their families behind) had quitted South 
Australia for the goldfields — nearly a fourth of the population. 
In some settlements a man became such a rarity that, when he 
passed through, the children came out to gaze at him ! The 


streets of Adelaide were empty, its houses abandoned, and 
property became unmarketable. 

Ruin stared every one in the face. Whether the migration would 
be temporary, or whether the people would return to settle in South 
Australia, none could tell. 

At a stroke the churches became derelict ; ' trustees, Local 
Preachers, Leaders, members '-the male constituency of 
Methodism-had vanished! With the disappearance of the 
men of the colony, and of the capital they carried with them, 
the church-income for all purposes was cut off. Draper 
remained almost alone, to bear the liabilities resting upon 
Methodism. ' Moneys which had been lent upon promissory 
notes to the trustees ' of church property ' were called in on 
every hand ' ; to replace them by fresh loans was impossible 
and the help he might count upon was distant. 'Buoyant and 
hopeful though Draper usually was,' this experience almost 
crushed him.' The pages of his diary for those blacic months 
are torn out. Fortunately he had Boyce behind him at Sydney 
who relieved the pressure, so soon as communications reached 
him by an advance from the Missionary Fund ; his action was 
in due time endorsed and reinforced by the Committee at 

^However distressed and anxious he felt, the man of God 
maintained a calm demeanour which sensibly helped to avert 
the imminent panic. A singular incident of the crisis shows how 
much depended upon Draper at this extraordinary juncture. 
He happened to have to sign a large cheque in payment on 
account of the Pirie Street Chapel at a moment when his hand 
was unsteady through the exertion undergone in some severe 
piece of maiiual labour. The manager of the bank under whose 
eye the document passed was struck by the tremor in the hand- 
writing, and sent a message asking Mr. Draper to call upon him. 
Draper came, in fear lest his cheque was going to be dis- 
honoured, when the man of money expressed his concern at 
the change apparent in his client's signature. 

I fear [he said] you are getting nervous and anxious. Now th^will 
never do it is to persons like yourself that we look in this time of 
difficulty. You must not give way ; and I have sent for you to say 
that you shall have any accommodation you may want. 


This was a discerning friend and a wise man. The same bank- 
manager hit upon a bold and skilful financial expedient, which 
averted monetary shipwreck from the colony. Before the 
middle of 1852 the commercial crisis was over. The South 
Australian miners were amongst the first at work on the gold- 
fields, and the most expert of diggers. Some returned early 
with rich gains ; others sent home large remittances ; a stream 
of gold poured into the impoverished colony, and its depleted 
population was by degrees restored. 

During the time of exodus it was impossible to make any 
accurate reckoning of Church membership, for no one could 
tell how long the gold-seekers might be absent, or how many 
of them might find permanent employment in the new mining 
centres. For the time all arrangements in the South Australian 
Circuits were provisional ; the places of the adventurers 
remained vacant in the hope of their return. Many reported 
themselves by letter as meeting regularly in Class, though they 
saw no Minister and received no Quarterly Ticket. The 
godly Methodists left behind in South Australia were naturally 
fearful as to the spiritual effect of the dislocation ; moral 
unsettlement was too likely to result from the sudden acquisi- 
tion of wealth and the handling of gold by men accustomed to 
a scanty and rough livelihood. Their utmost efforts were put 
forth to counteract dangers, and with a success beyond hope. 
Rarely have any body of men under conditions of such trial 
suffered so little demoralization. ' Happily,' writes Symons, 

the fears of Mr. Draper and others were not realized. . . . By the 
grace of God the great bulk of Christians were preserved faithful, and 
as the excitement and novelty of their new circumstances wore away, 
they recovered to the full their tone of piety and their disposition for 
usefulness. . . . Every Wesleyan Minister remained faithful to his 
work, notwithstanding the attractions presented all round by the gold 
discoveries. . . . The Missionary Committee wrote specially urging us 
not to forsake our work — a thought of which I am persuaded never 
entered the head of any one of us until we received that communication ! 

Symons was the best witness to this fidelity, for he was the 
young Minister dispatched by Draper from Adelaide to look 
after the Methodist diggers at the gold-mines. His discharge 
of this Mission, and its fruitful results, we have touched upon 
in the last chapter. One of the objects with which Symons 
went to the Victorian mines was to keep the South Australians 


in touch with the Churches left behind, and to gather contribu- 
tions from them, since they were coming into command of 
money, in order to save the Society funds and chapel trusts 
which in consequence of their withdrawal were threatened 
with actual bankruptcy. The hearty response made to this 
appeal by the miners on the field formed a link which helped 
to secure the fidelity to Christ and their Church of men who 
were assailed by fierce temptations. 

In 1853, when colonial affairs had fallen into a more settled 
course in the altered channels, Draper takes a cheerful outlook 
on the future of South Australia : 

I imagine [he writes at this date] we have many of the advantages of 
the gold-bearing colonies, without many of the disadvantages. . . . 
We may safely launch out a little in our endeavours. I was never 
greatly deficient in confidence as to what the colonies could do, and now, 
I fear, I should be almost reckless, were I in a position in which my 
depraved chapel-building propensities were brought into play. 

When, a year later, South Australia was constituted a separate 
District, with Draper as Chairman, he reported the Church 
membership as having all but overtaken the record made before 
the rush to the goldfields. The figure given in the Minutes for 
1854 is 1,066 ; there are 7 Circuits in the District (Adelaide 
being divided into ' North ' and ' South '), and still only 6 
Ministers — 3 stations appear to be occupied by lay agents. The 
large accessions to membership gained in the Victoria District 
during the three years just elapsed included a goodly contingent 
transferred from South Australia. ' If we can get two or three 
more Missionaries,' the Chairman observes, ' I shall not fear 
as to results.' He reports as many as a dozen new churches 
in building, or about to be built, on the area of the District. 
Pirie Street Chapel is to be provided with galleries ; the erection 
of a second chapel in the city, of equal dimensions, is 
immediately contemplated. The large additional plant that is 
being created could not be paid for all at once ; but the constant 
growth of the congregations made enlargement imperative, 
and the resources of the Church, present and prospective, 
warrant these projects and the heavy expenditure they entail. 
' We do not use the term debt,' writes Draper, ' in relation to 
our chapels as implying a permanent burden, but simply an 
unliquidated balance, to be reduced every year by at least 


20 per cent. All our places, with very few exceptions, are too 
small, and the population of the colony is rapidly increasing.' 
These bold undertakings, carried on in all directions, were 
justified by their results. Though few in numbers, the Society 
forming at this time but 13 per cent, of the population (the 
proportion of ' adherents ' must have been relatively large), 
the Methodists of the colony were loyal and liberal. They 
gave their leader an enthusiastic support, and they felt an 
honourable pride in the maintenance of their religious institu- 
tions. No section of the wide Australian field was more ready 
to take its part in the duties of Connexional independence ; the 
newly created District displayed both resources for self-support 
and abilities for self-government. 

At the close of 1854, when the Australasian Conference was 
about to be formed, Daniel Draper sought a removal from this 
colony, which he had served so efficiently for eight years. He 
was removed to Melbourne, and William Butters took his 
place at Adelaide. Two more colonial-bred Ministers were 
added to the staff in 1853 — John Gane Millard, translated from 
New South Wales, a probationer of two years' standing ; and 
Robert C. Flockhart, who has been previously named. Both 
these young men lived to devote many years of good service 
to the Australian Churches. Amongst the seniors of the Dis- 
trict, Thomas Williams a year later replaced Thomas T. N. 
Hull, who had been drafted to Sydney. Williams spent his 
first twelve years of missionary life (1839-51) in Fiji, and will 
come into view when we reach that interesting field. He 
brought great strength and wisdom to the guidance of the swift- 
growing Methodism of South Australia. ' The labours of 
brothers Williams and Dare in the Adelaide South Circuit,' 
writes their chief, ' have been much honoured, and the Circuit 
is in a very healthy and prosperous state.' Another tried 
Missionary entered this field at the same time, viz. Matthew 
Wilson, who had seen nearly twenty years' service in Samoa 
and the Friendly Islands. With the institution of the Affiliated 
Conference an adequate ministerial staff was at last supplied 
to South Australia. The Minutes for 1855 show twelve 
Ministers in the field (occupying nine Circuits), in place of six. 

South Australia contributed to the newly formed Conference 
1,506 Church members (with 226 on trial), nearly quadrupling 
the figure of seven years earlier ; 2,727 Sunday scholars under 


regular instruction ; 39 chapels, and 38 other preaching-places ; 
106 Local Preachers ; 9,380 adherents, constituting over a 
ninth of the population of that date. The subsequent period 
saw a great advance upon these figures, and a growth of the 
Church in numbers and influence by virtue of which it overtook 
the progress of the colony and became a chief factor in its 
religious and social welfare. The foundations for this upbuilding 
were substantially and soundly laid, under the administration 
of Daniel James Draper, the wise master-builder of Methodism 
in South Australia. 

The story of Wesleyan Missions in Western Australia, up 
to the year 1855, while it covers a quarter of a century of time, 
is comparatively slender in its content. The area of the country 
included under this name is immense, stretching, like ' South 
Australia,' over the breadth of the continent from south to 
north, and covers more than two-fifths of it from east to west. 
But only a fraction of this enormous space is habitable. 
Colonization began on the western side of Australia seven years 
sooner than upon the south. The early experiments, commenc- 
ing from 1829, had, however, but a moderate success ; neither 
soil nor climate were so propitious here as those of the south- 
eastern regions. The discoveries of gold and other mines which 
have made Western Australia thriving and famous x took place 
less than thirty years ago. Not till 1893 did this colony reach 
the population-mark of 60,000, qualifying it for the grant of an 
elective legislature. 

As in the case of Victoria and South Australia, Methodism 
came in with the founders of the colony ; and here, once more, 
we find the Local Preacher and Class-leader the forerunner of 
the Missionary. The earliest occupation took place about the 
middle of the/year 1829, when a body of immigrants were set 
down near the mouth of the Swan River. They were sent out 
well furnished, under the auspices of a company formed for the 
purpose, but were landed in mid-winter, with no preparation 
made for their coming and with little leadership or guidance. 
The party suffered hardship amounting to misery from the 
storms of the season and the hostility of the Natives — troubles 
made greatly worse by their disorganization and want of training. 

1 Of recent years Western Australia has produced more gold than all the rest 
of tne Continent put together. 


Some six months later, in February, 1830, there sailed up the 
Swan River the barque Tranby, chartered by two Wesleyan 
Yorkshire families, of the names of Hardey and Clarkson, 
accompanied by other Methodist friends. They came to join 
the Swan River immigrants, who were now beginning to recover 
from their forlorn condition. The Tranby company formed the 
nucleus of a Church. Lands were assigned to them between 
Perth and Guildford. They were resolved to maintain their 
godly fellowship, and to let their light shine in this far corner 
of the world, which they found to be a dark enough place. At 
once public services were commenced under the direction of 
Joseph Hardey, a former Local Preacher, who lived and 
laboured for God in this colony until 1872. The little band 
extended their ministrations to the town of Perth, the centre 
of the colony, where the shadow of a big jarrah-tree supplied 
the first sanctuary, the site of which is to this day reverently 
remembered. Soon Hardey and his companions carried the 
Gospel to Guildford, and to Fremantle, twelve miles away — 
the other two primitive settlements. James Inkpen, who 
belonged to the first batch of immigrants, was chosen Class- 
leader, and afterwards Superintendent of the Sunday school. 
He and his wife continued for long to be pillars of the church. 

At the beginning of 1833 a second Methodist detachment 
arrived, including George Shenton and Charles and Bernard 
Clarkson, the first-named of whom especially proved a valuable 
ally — a man who ' by strength of personality, loyal service, 
and generous gifts, won a place of high regard and honour, 
and remained an earnest Local Preacher, Class-leader, and 
prominent officer, until his untimely decease ended a truly 
great career. * The severe isolation and the lack of ministerial 
leadership suffered by this group of Methodists stimulated 
lay faculties and the sense of responsibility in the rank and 
file to an uncommon degree. Their deprivations were keenly 
felt ; but they did their best to make up for these, and were 
not forsaken by the Spirit of God. 

Hitherto the Society had met in private premises, or wor- 
shipped under the open sky. Now the time was come for raising 
a house of God. This was resolved upon in January, 1834, and 
a chapel was built by subscription, the promoters taking shares 
of £2 each in the property. In June of the same year the 

1 So writes Brian Wibberley in A Century in the Pacific, chap, iv., 'West Australia.' 


building was opened. There were now five Local Preachers at 
work — Bernard Clarkson, J. W. Hardey, George Lazenby, and 
Henry Trigg, along with Joseph Hardey. Methodism thus 
organized itself in the colony, as far as could be, without a 
Travelling Preacher. The contentions which divided the 
original Society at Adelaide did not arise here ; ' the sagacity 
and fitness of the recognized leaders of the movement were 
exceptional.' But the need of a spiritual adviser and head was 
felt none the less ; indeed, a report of the situation had been 
sent to the Mission House in London by Methodists on the 
spot, soon after their landing, with an earnest appeal for a 
Missionary. The pitiable state of the Aborigines, who were 
accessible in large numbers from the Swan River, served as a 
powerful plea for help, beside the destitution of the settlers, 
who, if few in numbers, were spread over a wide area, and for a 
long while had but a single clergyman (Chaplain to the 
Governor) and a single schoolmaster to minister to their higher 
needs. For some years criminals under penal servitude were 
imported to the colony by the British Government at the 
request, in the first instance, of settlers suffering from the 
shortage of labour ; but the remonstrances of the eastern 
colonists, whose experience in this respect had been disastrous, 
led to the cessation of the practice. Respectable immigrants 
were deterred by this cause, and the growth of the population 
was checked for a considerable time ; but the convict element 
never became here a dominant factor in colonial life, as in New 
South Wales and Tasmania. 

The hope of missionary help for the Western Australians was 
long deferred. Their petition is alluded to in the Missionary 
Report for 1837, where it is stated that the Society had been 
encouraged, by an offer of financial assistance for the purpose, 
to institute inquiries with a view to establishing a Mission 
among the Aborigines in this quarter. A Missionary is to be 
sent to Perth, who shall in the first instance care for the Society 
and congregation already formed amongst the colonists, and 
shall, as he finds opportunity, extend his ministry to the sur- 
rounding Natives. The outcome of this determination was the 
appointment of William Longbottom to the ' Swan River 
Mission.' How he was intercepted on the way, and how the 
loss of Western became the gain of South Australia, has been 
related in the earlier part of this chapter. 


The lonely Perth people had to wait for three years more, 
until in 1840 John Smithies was sent to them. This long- 
suffering man had given eight years of faithful toil to Newfound- 
land ; he was to experience in his new sphere through fifteen 
years conditions of labour yet more solitary and depressing. A 
man of ability as well as of devotion and experience, he com- 
manded the unqualified respect of the Swan River Methodists, 
who had grown into independent ways, and of the settlers 
generally. He managed to combine his colonial pastorate and 
his Native Mission, succeeding in the latter better than any 
Missionary had done before him. x 

For twelve years Smithies laboured alone in this double 
capacity, no colleague being assigned him till 1852. Officially 
he belonged to the New South Wales District, and was under 
the direction of its Chairman resident in Sydney, across 2,000 
miles of desert ; his nearest brother Minister was at Adelaide, 
accessible only by a sea voyage of 1,500 miles ! Attendance at 
Synod, or at any sort of meeting, was out of the question. 
William Boyce, the indefatigable Superintendent of Australian 
Missions (from 1845 onwards) , promised a visit, but the promise 
was unfulfilled. Never before nor since has a Methodist 
Preacher been cut off so completely and for so long a period 
from his fellows. Referring to this fact thirty years later, 
Bickford writes : ' How it was that the Mission in Western 
Australia was left year after year with only one Missionary it 
is now difficult to say, and impossible to justify.' Something 
appears to have been lacking also at times in the sympathy and 
support of the lay helpers during the course of Smithies' long 
service at Swan River ; to serve Natives and colonists with 
equal zeal is next to impossible. 

In the year 1847 the Missionary' sends to the Committee a 
full account of his position and work, which covers twelve 
pages of foolscap and is a very affecting document. 

We* have been here [he writes] nearly eight years contending with 
prejudices and persecutions from without, and various and increasing 
troubles in the Native work . . . without any brotherly aid or sympathy 
or counteracting influence. We sometimes think that this is not 
Methodism, to be thus alone. We know you care for us and the cause ; 
others of the brethren to whom I have written in the colonies sympathize 

1 On this part of his work, see chapter vii. 
* The ' we ' of this letter means Mr. and Mrs. Smithies. 


with us ; but these things bring no help. . . . Dear fathers and 
brethren, do not mistake, or think that we are weary of this place or of 
the Mission, or wish to change without reason. We could live and die 
here, provided that we saw the hand of the Lord stretched out to save ; 
but we are weary, and ought to be, of being shut up, of having our 
hands tied, of going through a monotonous work from day to day, 
just holding our positions. It is this which has forced me to request 
of Mr. Boyce, or yourselves, some change either in giving us one 
additional labourer, or sending some other brother to do merely 
as I have done. I may say, once for all, that no one missionary can 
possibly attend to native and colonial work. . . . We have many 
mercies — health, strength, and blessing — and should be daily grateful 
and devoted, as I trust we are ; but after all, it does not suffice to live 
unless it be to purpose. 

John Smithies suffered to an extreme from the distress which 
has afflicted many a Missionary — that of being compelled to 
do distractedly and ineffectively, under the constant tempta- 
tion to despondency, a variety of work beyond the compass of 
any single man. 

Five years longer this patient, and quiet man held the fort 
alone ; the Conference of 1852 sent him two fellow helpers, 
both of proved efficiency. One of these was William Lowe, 
who had already earned a good degree in colonial service and 
spent the best of his strength in Western Australia. Taking 
charge of the English church in Perth, he enabled Smithies to 
remove his Native institution from the unsuitable locality to 
which it had been tied by the exigencies of his double office. 
Reporting this long-desired change to the Committee, the 
grateful man exclaims : 

We have now a Mission with suitable appliances amid a populous 
district of colonists and natives, and every chance of doing something, 
temporally and spiritually ! 

The West Australian work at length began to progress. The 
other appointee of this date was a former West African Mis- 
sionary (1842-49) and a man of conspicuous mark, Thomas 
Raston by name. But Raston never saw Western Australia. 
He was shipwrecked on the South American coast in sailing 
from England to his destination ; and when, after strange 
adventures, he reached Port Phillip belated, at the time when 
the Victorian staff were desperately put to it to find evangelists 
for the goldfields, William Butters commandeered the passer-by 


for this service. Thus, as in the case of Longbottom, Western 
Australia suffered a second time from the incidents of shipwreck 
and the imperious claims of other Districts. 

Two years later Raston's place was filled by the coming of 
Samuel Hardey, by this time a veteran in service, 1 who presents 
one of the most gracious and charming figures of our missionary 
portrait-gallery. Hardey arrived in feeble health. The 
debility induced by the Madras climate had been aggravated 
by a chill caught on the voyage eastwards. He was put ashore 
at Mauritius in what appeared to be a dying condition, but 
recovered there, and spent the months of convalescence in 
evangelizing the Tamil coolies of this French island. He then 
pursued his way to Australia, and a year's rest in super- 
numeraryship restored his health, so that he was able, when 
Smithies withdrew in 1855, to take charge of the Perth Circuit 
and to direct the work of the District under the Australasian 
Conference. Five years later he was called off by the Mis- 
sionary Committee to South Africa. There was in Hardey a 
unique combination of wisdom, dignity, and sweetness of 
disposition ; and his six years' residence in this colony were of 
inestimable benefit to the Methodism of that isolated and 
undeveloped colony, serving to broaden its outlook, enrich its 
spiritual life, and impart to it a new self-respect. 

The newly constituted District of Western Australia reported, 
when taken over by the Australasian Conference, 60 Church 
members (no other District was ever formed with so small a 
membership) ; 2 chapels, and 4 other preaching-places ; 150 
Sunday scholars, with 20 teachers ; 4 Local Preachers ; 3 
Ministers (including the supernumerary Hardey), and 440 
adherents. The population of the colony was about 11,000, 
and the Methodist constituency numbered about 4 per cent. — 
an almost insignificant fraction. To-day, in a population of 
about 200,000, the Methodists claim more than 10 per cent. 

1 Few Wesleyan Missionaries have served so long in the fighting ranks — from 
1827-78, with one year of retirement — and no other in such varied fields as Samuel 
Hardey. He laboured during his half-century of ministry in four continents : for 
twenty-three years in South India ; seven years in Western Australia ; sixteen years 
as Chairman of the Cape Town District in South Africa, where he died ; and three 
years between the two periods of Indian service, in English Circuits. Beside all this, 
he occupied something like a year in valuable work at the Mauritius. It would be 
hard to say in which of these widely remote fields he was most useful and most beloved. 
The identity of his surname (rare in this form) with that of the Hardeys who took 
part in the foundation of the Western Australian Colony and Methodist Church, 
suggests some family relationship on his part with these early settlers, leading him 
tn resort to this country on the failure of his health in India ; but evidence on this 
point is wanting. 


The long period of neglect, endured till 1852, left our Church 
sadly behind in the race. 

The smallness and poverty of the Western Australian 
District necessitated its remaining for years to come a special 
charge upon the home Connexion for the supply both of men 
and means, while in administration it was placed on the same 
footing with the other Districts of the province. 


William B. Boyce — Instructions from the Committee — De- 
velopments in Sydney — Shortage of Missionaries — A Scheme that Failed 
— An Official Visit and a satisfactory Report — The Australasian 
Methodist Connexion — Its Constitution — The first Conference — Review 
of the Districts — Statistics. 

We dropped the thread of the story of Methodism in the 
Australian mother colony at the point when, in 1845, William 
B. Boyce arrived in the capacity of General Superintendent of 
Missions. This remarkable man has already been described, 
and the readers are acquainted with his personality. His 
appointment at this juncture to be a nursing-father to the 
Methodist people throughout Australia and Van Diemen's Land 
was one of the happiest selections ever made on the part of the 
Missionary Society. The memorandum of Joseph Orton drawn 
up in 1840 appears to have initiated the consultations resulting 
in this arrangement. The Australian colonies were so remote 
from home and out of touch with each other that they were 
bound to be treated as separate missionary areas, while the 
churches formed in them had not yet grown to the stage of self- 
government ; at the same time they bore a similar character, 
and, despite their distance, were in many ways interrelated, 
so that a common basis of organization was desirable. Some 
superior authority was required, who should be in a position 
to survey the entire field and master its problems, to represent 
Australian Methodism as a whole before the home Church and 
the colonial public and provincial Governments ; who would 
be able to distribute for the general advantage the men and 
means disposable, checking local aberrations and assisting in 
local emergencies ; who would thus unify the forces of the 
Church throughout these colonies, and supply the inspiration 
and the forward impulse that would carry them as a united 
body to the goal of an independent and self-complete Con- 
nexional existence. Such a task required the rarest combination 



of qualities of mind, heart, character, experience, and temper ; 
this combination was found in the chosen man. 

Boyce was now in the prime of life. He had received his 
training in South Africa in the school of William Shaw, wisest 
and strongest of our missionary leaders. In this field he had 
won a reputation not only for evangelistic zeal and administra- 
tive talent, but for intellectual grasp and acumen. Since the 
close of his career in Africa, Boyce had been sufficiently long in 
England to become acquainted with the Mission House and its 
policy, and with the home side of missionary affairs. Bickford, 
in his reminiscences already quoted, describes the impression 
made by Boyce upon young Missionaries arrived in Sydney — 
how he ' greeted them with an address full of practical wisdom, 
and delivered in a brusque unconventional style/ suggesting 
that Bickford, for instance, ' was a fever-stricken, worn-out 
West Indian Missionary, whom the Committee had sent to 
Australia to save their funds ! ' This sally amused Rabone and 
Hull standing by, who were familiar with Boyce's humour, but 
took the new-comer aback. 

He was a great man in his very humbleness, and a wise man in his 
condescending affability to all classes of religionists. ... At the 
bottom he was one of the truest and best men I have ever known. 

From the letter addressed in 1844 through M' Kenny to the 
New South Wales Synod, and from the instructions given to 
Boyce on his appointment, the aims of the Missionary Society 
in making this designation are apparent : 

(1) The Committee is impressed with the need of more 
efficient supervision over the Stations in Australia, in order to 
' bring our system to bear in the most beneficial manner upon 
the scattered population within their limits.' 

(2) It desires to see the Church's work based on ' foundations 
broad and deep,' so that ' its development may prove com- 
mensurate with the increasing religious wants of the com- 
munity.' It foresees that Australia ' will probably become the 
seat of a great empire,' and believes that the Wesleyan Church 
'is called, in the order of providence,' to contribute to ' the 
social constitution ' elements of vital importance to ' the 
welfare and prosperity of rising States.' 

(3) ' In recommending to the Conference your appointment 
to the office with which you are invested, the Committee ' 


[it is said to Boyce] ' have another object in view. They are 
actuated by the conviction that our work in Australia and Van 
Diemen's Land must be made to depend for development and 
extension very much on its own resources. The funds raised in 
this country (Britain) are not sufficient to keep up in a state of 
efficiency our Missions in purely heathen countries, and cannot 
be taxed, to any great extent, for the support of Missions 
among our countrymen in the Colonial Dependencies of the 
Empire. . . . You must, therefore, inculcate upon your own 
brethren, the Missionaries, and our people at large ' the duty 
and the privileges of self-support. ' All your plans ' for the 
future ' must be formed with the enlightened and comprehen- 
sive view of preparing for the period (which cannot be far 
distant) when such of our Missions as those in Australia and 
Van Diemen's Land will be removed from all dependence upon 
the funds of the Society at home.' * The case of the Mission to 
the Australian Natives is excepted from the scope of the last 
observation — an exception, alas, soon to lose its relevance. 

The long communication from Beecham's pen which preceded 
these directions was chiefly an enforcement of the third of the 
above arguments. Similar notifications were sent about the 
same time to the Districts of North America and the West 
Indies. Ideas were afloat, often much exaggerated, of the 
well-to-do condition of the colonists in different quarters, which 
raised a prejudice against the granting to them of missionary 
aid. Unfriendly critics took objection to the spending of so 
large a proportion of the Missionary Society's revenue in this 
way ; indeed, dissatisfaction about the cost of the colonies to 
the mother country was widely entertained, on both political 
and religious accounts. The objection failed to realize the 
fact that colonial wealth was potential rather than actual ; that 
for the present it was the time of sowing in the new fields, which 
would yield a return for seed and labour liberally bestowed, 
but had no store of their own from which to provide these 
primary indispensables. ' The appointed weeks of harvest ' 
must arrive in due season ; Boyce's mission was an anticipa- 
tion of their coming for the case in question. But there were 
impatient sowers at home, who looked for harvest in April 

'This statesmanlike document is signed by John Beteham, but boars internal 
marks of Jabez Bunting's hand. It was probably a joint composition. Its largeness 
of conception, and its dignity, force, and precision of language, do credit to both 


or in June! The stormy years on which the Missionary 
Society entered in the later forties stimulated the desire of the 
home Church to be relieved of colonial burdens, and emphasized 
the motives which induced the Mission House to urge the 
policy of colonial independence on its representatives, both 
in west and south. 

The coming of the General Superintendent did not lead to 
any immediate change in the missionary affairs of New South 
Wales. But in a year or two its effect became apparent. The 
Synod of 1846 reports that 

two new places have been visited during the year. First: Port 
Macquaiie, 200 miles by the coast N.E. of Sydney, where we have a 
nice chapel and congregation, with fifty members of Society. ... The 
people earnestly request the appointment of a Preacher, for whom the 
field is extensive and inviting. Second : Goulburn, 130 miles S.E. 
of Sydney, where there are a few members and a respectable con- 
gregation, which would be much increased were a Preacher resident 
amongst them. We have two Local Preachers there ; but the staff 
of the town, and the distance, call for the appointment of a man fully 
devoted to the work of the Lord. 

Goulburn was soon to become a chief centre of Methodism in 
the province. The two places above-named appear in the 
Stations in 1847, along with ' Moreton Bay ' (later Brisbane), 1 
for which ' One is requested.' 

In this year Thomas B. Harris from England— a man of 
some standing in the ministry and a faithful and useful labourer 
in the Australian field for years to come— was added to the New 
South Wales staff, which now numbered twelve on its list of 
regular Missionaries. The devoted William Moore, who was 
after a while brought into the ministry and became a valuable 
Fijian Missionary, commenced the work of Methodism at 
Moreton Bay/as a lay evangelist. The arrangements made at 
this time for the other sections of Boyce's District— Australia 
Felix, South and Western Australia, and Van Diemen's Land 
have been noted in previous chapters. 

The work in Sydney and its suburbs received a powerful 
impulse. The York Street Chapel, built on the strength of the 
Centenary effort of 1839-40, was proving its value as a city- 
centre for the church. Beside Boyce himself, who was no 

*This spot, first occupied as a penal settlement, was the nucleus of the present 
Colonial State of Queensland. 


mean Preacher, Frederick Lewis and Nathaniel Turner exercised 
in the York Street pulpit a ministry of commanding power. 
In 1848 matters were ripe for the partition of the Sydney 
Societies into North and South Circuits, which were superin- 
tended by the two able Ministers just named. The Chippendale 
Chapel supplied the head quarters of Sydney South. A new 
chapel was planned at Surrey Hills — the rapidly growing 
eastern quarter of the city ; this erection furnished in 1850 the 
head of a third Circuit (' Sydney East '), to which Benjamin 
Hurst was appointed, at that date removed from the nearly 
abandoned Buntingdale Mission to the Aborigines. These 
subdivisions stimulated the activities of Sydney Methodism 
and developed the powers of its laymen. 1 The country 
Circuits, while scarcely increased in number since 1847, were 
extending their operations on all sides and spreading systema- 
tically over the settled country. The membership returns of 
1850 showed a total of 2,103 — an advance of more than 50 per 
cent, in five years. The population of New South Wales was 
now rapidly advancing in numbers whilst notably improved 
in character. Since the importation of convicts was stopped 
in 1840 a better class of immigrants was attracted to the 
colony. The Mission staff, under Boyce's direction for this 
part of the District, was still limited to a dozen — four out of the 
thirteen Circuits were provided, according to the Minutes, 
with ' No resident Missionary.' Francis Tuckfield had at last 
been withdrawn from Buntingdale, and was serving the Sydney 
North Circuit. Two additional men had been furnished from 
England : Benjamin Chapman, who had laboured for about 
ten years in West Africa and joined the Australian ranks in 
1848, to spend the rest of his useful ministry there (he died in 
1866) ; and Joseph Oram, a young' man commencing service, 
who gave nearly fifty years to the Australian work, and 

1 With the growth of Sydney and Melbourne into commercial cities, the centres 
of oceanic traffic, a class of wholesale traders sprang up, not a few of whom became 
merchant princes. Amongst these was Walter Powell of Melbourne, who in his later 
years removed to London, where he stood in the first rank of metropolitan Methodist 
laymen. The brothers M' Arthur (William and Alexander), sons of an Irish Methodist 
Preacher, built up a prosperous firm of this nature, having offices in London and 
branches and agencies through the Colonies. These two eminent men also gravitated 
to I^ondon, where Sir William M'Arthur was made Lord Mayor of the City — he was 
for a number of years Treasurer of the Missionary Society ; and Alexander M'Arthur 
rendered no less faithful and princely service to his Church. Both were members of 
the British Parliament. These and such laymen of wealth and business influence 
contributed freely to the formation of Methodism during its days of need and stres 
in their colonial homes. The telegraph cable, unifying the markets and enabling 
buyers and sellers all over the world to communicate directly, has taken away much 
of the occupation of these great wholesale importers. 


acquitted himself worthily and well. Innes and Harris had 
been transferred to other colonies. In 1851 John Watsford 
returned to his native District from Fiji, Stephen Rabone 1 
was transferred hither from the Friendly Islands, and John 
Eggleston from Tasmania. Transfers also took place in the 
opposite direction. 

Boyce largely extended the practice, hitherto occasional in 
this field, of employing salaried but unordained local agents to 
meet the shortage of Missionaries. The position thus created 
supplied to young men conscious of a vocation to the ministry, 
and to the Church which employed them, a means of testing 
their powers and qualities before their formal acceptance as 
candidates. Difficulties arose now and then in regard to the 
status of these auxiliaries ; but they filled, in most instances, 
very usefully the gaps in the Circuit Stations ; and some such 
auxiliaries were indispensable at this period of rapid expansion, 
when Circuits were being multiplied on the basis of a slender 
ministerial staff. The deficiency was due in great part to the 
discouragement of local candidature which took place twenty 
years earlier, in consequence of the mistakes then made in the 
matter, and the conflict between the Synod and the home 
authorities thence arising. This state of things was now 
happily altered. Amongst the colonial preachers who entered 
the Australian ministry by this opened gate were John C. 
Thrum ; John Gane Millard and William G. Currey, received 
in 1847 > James Somerville, John W. Pemell, William Byrne, 
who entered in the following year ; Joseph FiUingham, in 1850 ; 
George Pickering and John Bowes, in 185 1. This was a 
substantial crop of candidates, and evidenced, moreover, the 
capacity of Australian Methodism for self -propagation. The 
case of Australia at this juncture resembled that which con- 
tinued long in Canada, where the working Circuit staff was 
habitually larger than appears in the official Stations, because 
the Chairman (of Presiding Elders) were empowered to enlist 
supplies for Circuit emergencies from the ranks of the Local 
Preachers, some of whom returned to their secular occupation 

1 A sentence or two should be added to the account previously given of this 
admirable man : ' For upwards of twenty years no voice was more familiar than his in 
many parts of N.S. Wales.' ' Its sonorous tones ' were charged with ' persuasiveness 
and holy influence.' His preaching ' presented the fruits of various reading, of 
extensive observation, and of much secret prayer ; it was pervaded with fervent love 
to God, and to the souls of men.' His power in prayer was often marvellous. 
' Accuracy, courtesy, and dispatch ' distinguished his official work ; he was an early 
Secretary of the Australasian Conference. 


after a spell of Circuit supply work, while others approved 
themselves as candidates for the ministry through the service 
rendered in this capacity. The designation ' Assistant Mis- 
sionary ' was given to Australian Ministers called out on the 
Mission Field, as in other Districts ; but the trouble occasioned 
by this distinction in North America did not arise here. 

Some other experiments made by Boyce were not so success- 
ful as those we have described. In 1846 he persuaded the 
Synod, in compliance with a suggestion from the Missionary 
Committee, to inaugurate a joint ' Australian Chapel Fund and 
Contingent Fund,' designed to provide for Connexional expenses 
outside the Circuit liabilities, and to assist local enterprise in 
chapel building. Had lay representation then existed in the 
Synod, this scheme might have been favourably received ; as 
things were, it looked like a tax imposed by the Ministers upon 
the Church. 

The financial barque was launched, but the gentle winds which it 
was hoped the people's generosity would set in motion never filled its 

The voluntary income this twofold fund secured, derived from 
all sections of the Australian District, never exceeded £150 a 
year ; but for the annual grants made by the New South Wales 
Government during the time of concurrent State aid to the 
Churches it would have been an undisguised failure. In 1859 
the department was reorganized under a new name, and sub- 
sequently fared better. Further, the General Superintendent 
turned to account his literary knowledge and taste by issuing 
in 1846 a weekly religious journal named The Gleaner, edited 
by himself — for the most part a compilation of extracts from 
world literature. l But the reading public of the colonies was 
small ; and the venture, failing to secure a paying circulation, 
was discontinued after two years. 

The year 1851 was memorable for New South Wales as well 
as for Victoria. Gold was discovered in the former colony 
(though by no means in such abundance as in the latter), at a 
spot named Ophir, situated in the interior forty miles west of 
Bathurst, and almost simultaneously in several other localities. 
A rush took place from Sydney and from other parts of the 
colony to this outlying spot. The stampede was not so general 

' A kind of Great Thoughts, appearing before the times were ripe for it. 


here as in South Australia, but it unsettled the life of the Church 
in many directions. Local Preachers and Class-leaders went 
off to the diggings ; young men of energy and adventure 
disappeared from the congregations. The unwholesome public 
excitement hindered spiritual work amongst those who 
remained, and for the time the maintenance of the means of 
grace was difficult. The Bathurst Minister, Benjamin Chap- 
man, promptly visited the Ophir diggings ; he instituted Divine 
worship there on the first Sunday after the discovery of gold 
was made public, while there were but two or three hundred 
miners on the Creek. That the labours of Chapman and his 
helpers, undertaken in response to the sudden demand, were 
not without fruit is shown by the fact that two years later a 
' Goldfields ' Circuit appears in the list of New South Wales 
Methodist Stations, which is credited with 200 Church 
members. l 

Coal had been raised in and around Newcastle from an early 
period. From this time the mining population became an 
important factor in the existence of the colony. Extensive 
deposits of silver and copper were also found, and turned to 
account in course of time ; and the production of gold has been 
continuous in several districts of the colony. The mining 
interest became, from the early fifties, an important factor in 
the progress of New South Wales, though never preponderant 
as in Victoria. Wool remains to this day the chief commercial 
staple of this province ; and its population, being predominantly 
rural and pastoral, is spread over a very large area. 

The purposes with which the Missionary Committee had sent 
William Boyce to Australia and entrusted him with such 
extensive powers, by the year 1852 had been largely realized. 
The New South Wales District was strengthened and improved 
in every respect, and had the prospect of yet greater develop- 
ment in the near future. The Van Diemen's Land section had 
benefited through the new administration in only a less degree, 
while South Australia, under Daniel Draper's masterly leader- 
ship, had advanced beyond all hopes. Victoria (as the new 
province carved out of New South Wales was called) had leaped 
into fame and sudden wealth ; and the Methodist Society there, 
of little account hitherto, through the faithful use of its oppor- 

1 In 1854, however, this number is cut down by one-half — the constituency was 
doubtless a shifting one. 


tunities was on the way to become a strength to the Church in 
the whole continent. Melbourne bid fair to rival Sydney in 
quality of citizenship and in Christian influence. New Zealand, 
where the Maori Mission had of late years achieved striking 
success, was budding into colonial greatness. Despite the 
breadth of intervening ocean, its affairs were closely knit with 
those of Australia. The conditions for the establishment of a 
self-supporting Methodism in Australasia were much more 
auspicious than could have been anticipated seven years earlier. 
At the same time the course of events at home made the 
necessity of securing relief for the Missionary Fund painfully 

The British Conference of 1852 determined, therefore, to 
attempt a settlement of the colonial question without delay. 
It was resolved to dispatch an official representative of the 
Missionary Society and the British Conference to visit the 
Australian Districts, New Zealand, and the South Sea Islands, 
in order to discuss the situation with our responsible people in 
the colonies and Missions, to set before them the views of the 
Church at home, and to secure their assent to the plan of 
independence. On his report, it was hoped, the Missionary 
Committee would be in a position to develop and carry through 
a proper scheme for the creation of an Affiliated Conference of 
Australasia, to which the direction of all the Missions in that 
part of the world might be entrusted. 

Robert Young was selected for this honourable but laborious 
and delicate task. A man now of mature age, he had spent his 
early years of ministry in North America, where, under difficult 
conditions, he had done excellent pioneer work, and had learnt 
to understand the colonial temper and needs. He had subse- 
quently attained distinction in the home ranks as a man of 
spiritual fervour and thorough devotion, at the same time of 
eloquence and genial breadth, of tact and strong sense. A fine 
presence and dignified bearing helped to make Robert Young 
a fitting delegate from the Old Country. 1 

Young's instructions from the Mission House define 

the constitution of a New Conference for the Australian colonies, dis- 
tinct from the British Conference yet not wholly independent of it, but 

1 Young has left an interesting narrative of his Mission, which is still worth 
reading, and which gives a very pleasant impression of the writer, in his published 
Journal of a Deputation to the Southern World. 


sustaining a relation to it analogous to that in which the Conferences of 
Ireland, Western Canada, 1 and France respectively stand, [as] the 
course suggested by the circumstances of the times and approving itself 
to the judgement of those in this country who are the most competent to 
form an opinion on the subject. 

This measure, it is expected, will 

tend to a most advantageous development of the resources of the 
Australian colonies, while it would secure . . . the unity of Wesleyan 
Methodism. If the attainment of these objects should require some 
additional sacrifices on the part of our brethren stationed there, we 
cannot doubt that they will be readily made. 

This last sentence alludes to the natural reluctance of Mis- 
sionaries of English birth to sever their connexion with home 
Methodism and to renounce their claim to a place on the British 
Stations in the event of their returning to England. 

The proposals brought by the deputation were made in the 
most agreeable manner and brotherly spirit ; they proved 
welcome at each of the Australian Synods. The New South 
Wales Synod, while strong in its desire for colonial freedom, 
urged with equal force the necessity of an immediate increase 
of the staff, such as its own resources were wholly unable to 
provide, in order to overtake the unprecedented development 
of the colony and to meet the numerous demands for Methodist 
ministrations. About this need Boyce was far more concerned 
than for any constitutional change in administration. He 
writes : 

I send you /500 raised by a few of us in ten minutes for six young 
men's passage, &c, to this colony. They must not be married, as 
they must create their own Circuits and get their own chapels and houses 
raised by our country friends before they can do this. They must be 
good Preachers ; lively, zealous, and not afraid of long rides, nor of 
sleeping in slab-huts, nor in the bush under the canopy of heaven. If 
they have a plain English education and can speak our language cor- 
rectly (which is an important point), they will do without classical 
learning — though that is no objection, provided they can preach ; but 
they must have voices, and the ability to preach short, lively sermons. 
Mere bookish men will not do for us ; delicate divines are out of place 
in this country. But men who understand and can explain and 
enforce our doctrines, and who have zeal for the salvation of souls, will 

1 The larger ' Affiliated ' Conference, including Eastern and Western Canada, 
was on the point of being formed. The older Conference of Western Canada had a 
peculiar genesis and a history of its own. 


be most kindly received. . . . If they can preach, and can do the people 
good, they will make their way and will want for nothing. 

The lead given by New South Wales was followed in Victoria 
and South Australia. Western Australia was at this date a 
comparatively negligible quantity. It was much to be regretted 
that the British deputation, like the General Superintendent 
before him, could not afford the time to inspect that outlying, 
unfrequented station. 1 Its necessities, however, were not over- 
looked ; and a pledge was given that the Missionary Committee 
would continue its care for this undeveloped corner of the 
continent. Young extended his visitation to New Zealand, and 
to Tonga and Fiji besides ; he was delighted to find it possible 
to include these Districts in the Australasian plan. On condi- 
tion of a continued (yearly diminishing) subsidy from England, 
the colonial Methodists were willing to be responsible for the 
South Sea Missions ; indeed, they volunteered to bear this 
burden. The charge was the more readily undertaken inasmuch 
as Sydney, from the first, had been a nursing-mother of Poly- 
nesian enterprise. The interests and aspirations of Sydney look 
eastwards, like its great harbour. This meant the recognition 
of missionary duty by the colonials ; and it signified the 
ultimate devolution by British Methodism of the whole care of 
the Pacific Islands on the young shoulders of its southern 

Robert Young, after eighteen months' absence (including the 
voyages in and out), reached home in April, 1854, an d made 
his report to the ensuing Conference. His survey of the condi- 
tion and prospects of the Church in Australasia, and his assur- 
ances of the loyalty of the Australian Methodists and their 
readiness and competence to sustain the duties incumbent on 
them, were ' eminently satisfactory.' The way, it was con- 
sidered, ' is now prepared for that self-government which had 
become necessary.' The future of Methodism in the Southern 
World was, under God, secured. It was felt on all hands ' that 
this vast field could no longer be well worked from London as 
the official centre ' of its operations ; ' its exigencies had more 
than once baffled the wisdom of the Missionary Committee.' 

1 Robert Young's arrival in the colonies was grievously delayed by an un- 
fortunate start. Twice he was compelled to return to Plymouth through the break- 
down of the vessels on which he embarked, each of which in turn narrowly escaped 
1 ; his companion was so shaken that he gave np the enterprise. He finally 
■set sail in January, 1853, three months after the first embarkation. 


Such was the mature opinion of the closest observers of 
Methodist affairs in this region. Little doubt or misgiving was 
entertained by the Birmingham Conference as to the course 
to be taken ; and the ' Plan for forming the Wesleyan Mis- 
sionary Society's Australian and Polynesian Missions into a 
distinct and Affiliated Connexion ' received a unanimous assent. 
This historical document, proposed on behalf of the Missionary 
Committee, was adopted by the Conference on August 9, 1854 ; 
it bears the signature of the President, John Farrar. 

The conduct of the negotiations on the British side had been 
in the hands of Dr. John Beecham ; he bore the chief part in 
working out and drafting the scheme, and had in hand about 
the same time parallel plans for France, Eastern British 
America, and Canada. The success which attended the 
establishment of the Australasian Conference, and its smooth 
working when in operation, were due to the care, sagacity, 
and perfect knowledge of the Methodist system which dis- 
tinguished the venerable chief of the Mission House, as well as 
to the generalship of William Boyce, and the persuasive 
advocacy of Robert Young, on the colonial field. The ' Plan ' 
was drawn up under seven principal heads x : 

(1) The title of the new ecclesiastical body is stated as The 
A ustralasian Wesleyan Methodist Connexion. It is laid down that 
this Connexion ' shall continue to maintain in common with the 
English Connexion the Wesleyan doctrine as contained in Mr. 
Wesley's four volumes of Sermons, and Notes on the New 
Testament, and the Wesleyan system of discipline, as contained 
in the Minutes of Conference.' 

(2) The Conference, as the governing authority, is defined 
in its constituent parts, its times and places of meeting (variable 
at discretion), the persons who shall constitute it and their 
qualifications, the powers it shall exercise as the supreme court 
of discipline, legislation, and administration for the Societies 
and Circuits under its oversight. The duties of its President 
are set forth, provision being made for the contingency of his 
removal by death or any other cause. Two limiting powers 
are reserved to the English Conference : 

(1) It shall have the right, when it may think desirable, of choosing 
one of its own number to preside over the Australasian Conference ; 

1 Tbis outline will serve, mui-atis mutandis, for each of the Affiliated Conferences. 


(2) of ' disallowing . . . such rules, or rule, as in its judgement 
infringe any of our doctrinal or disciplinary principles.' 

The second of these checks the British Conference never found 
it necessary to enforce ; the former right it acted upon, with 
universal approval, by designating William B. Boyce as first 
occupant of the new Presidential Chair. 

(3) The subordinate ' District ' forms the topic of the third 
heading. The powers of the annual ' District Meeting,' and 
the functions of the ' District Chairman,' are set forth on the 
familiar British lines. Regulations are particularly laid down 
for the formation of a District Chapel Committee, in which 
laymen are to sit, empowered to control chapel building in the 
Circuits. A power is given to the Colonial District Meeting, 
which the English Synod did not possess, of nominating to 
the Conference persons for appointment to Connexional 

(4) ' The existing claims of Missionaries ' are somewhat 
elaborately considered. The option is given to Ministers 
previously appointed from England and members of the 
English Conference, which shall remain open ' for a consider- 
able period,' of returning to the mother country upon reason 
shown, and of claiming thereupon a place in the British Circuit 
ministry ; but it is expected that this valued body of men will 
in general abide by the colonial Church. Their claims on 
Connexional Funds are guarded, and corresponding provisions 
are to be made by the Australasian Connexion for the Ministers 
called out in its employment. 

(5) The Ministers who may be called to service under the 
new Conference, shall have no lien upon the parent Church by 
reason of their Australasian status, whether they may have 
been admitted as colonial or British candidates. 

(6) Article 6 charges the Church now constituted, ' in 
accordance with New Testament rule,' with the undivided 
responsibility for ' the sustenance of its own Ministers,' includ- 
ing all financial obligations contingent thereupon . It prescribes 
certain Committee arrangements designed to secure the proper 
discharge of these liabilities. 

(7) Lastly, directions are given for the management of the 
Missions in New Zealand, the Friendly Islands, and Fiji, which 
the parent Church hands over to her daughter as her provi- 
dential charge. The Australasian Conference is expected, in 


constituting its missionary agencies, to follow the model 
furnished by the Missionary Society in England, which 
represents the British Conference and the home Connexion 
for missionary purposes. But so long, and so far, as the South 
Sea Missions are subsidized from England, they shall be 
regarded as integral with the Missions of the Parent Society, 
and yearly reports shall be submitted of the state and prospects 
of Australasian Mission work. ' The General Superintendent 
of Missions ' in the colonies shall regularly correspond with 
the London Mission House, informing and advising with the 
Missionary Secretaries and Committee there. For the present 
the Parent Society agrees to contribute to the carrying on of 
the South Sea Missions a sum of money equal to the amount 
raised for this purpose in the Australasian Districts, ' with such 
additions as the necessities of the work may, for a time, require.' 
By degrees the Affiliated Conference, it is understood, will find 
the means to sustain its missionary burdens unaided, and will 
press toward this goal. 

The first Australasian Conference met at York Street Chapel, 
Sydney, on January 18, 1855. It consisted of forty-one 
Ministers — about a third of the entire staff. The appointment 
of Mr. Boyce as President was confirmed, and John A. Manton 
was elected Secretary, with Stephen Rabone and Henry H. 
Gaud for assistants. The Plan transmitted from the British 
Conference was unanimously adopted as the basis of ' the 
Australasian Wesleyan Methodist Connexion/ Five young 
Ministers who had completed their probation were received 
after examination into Full Connexion (according to the well- 
worn Methodist phrase), and ordained by the imposition of 
hands. They received a charge, packed with weighty wisdom, 
from the lips of the President. Plans for the formation of a 
fund to assist in the maintenance of superannuated Ministers 
and Ministers' widows, for the reconstitution of the Contingent 
and Chapel-building Fund, and for the management of the 
Missions, were discussed. The first of these subjects was 
remitted to the District Meetings for maturer consideration. 
On the other matters Conference took action at once ; executive 
Committees, with their full quota of lay representatives, were 
formed and their members appointed. 

The various branches of public education, including Sunday 
schools, came under review. The Conference, while dissatisfied 


with the existing system of Government schools, advised ' our 
brethren and friends to co-operate heartily with the Legislature 
in rendering this less perfect mode of education as efficient as 
possible.' On the thorny question of grants for religious uses 
it did not contemplate nor desire the perpetuity of such 
assistance ; but Methodism must claim its due proportion of 
the disbursement so long as it continued to be made. On the 
general question of State subventions to the Church the 
Conference pronounced no verdict, regarding it as ' one not 
involving any New Testament principle,' but ' of expediency, 
respecting which men of equal judgement and piety may 
innocently differ in opinion.' The Australian attitude was 
decidedly more conservative and cautious than that adopted 
by the Canada Conference of an earlier date. Five Connexional 
collections were directed to be made annually in all the chapels 
— for Missions to the heathen, for Church extension at home 
(home Missions), for chapel-building and other plant, for the 
education of the Preachers' children, for the sustentation of 
supernumeraries and ministers' widows. On one point it was 
desired to modify the Plan of Constitution ; the Australasian 
Conference requested the freedom to choose its official head — a 
a prerogative readily waived by the mother Conference. Boyce 
was the first elected President (1855). 

After serving as the chief officer of the Australasian Con- 
ference and Connexion for a second year, having seen the new 
Church set upon its way, William Boyce, still in the vigour of 
his days, returned to England, where his counsels were needed 
at head quarters. He was placed on the staff of the Mission 
House in 1858, and wielded the Secretary's pen effectively for 
eighteen years. Two of his daughters had found homes in 
Australia, » one of them being the wife of the Hon. Sir George 
Wigram Allen, K.C.M.G., a leading New South Wales states- 
man, and a most enterprising, liberal, and hearty Methodist 
layman. ' He had himself married, for his second wife, Miss 
Allen, the aunt of the above gentleman. Mr. Boyce's ties to 

1 The four daughters were clever and charming women, possessing a large shafifr' 
of their father's intellectual gifts, and all married distinguished men. One was the 
wife of Alexander M' Arthur, M.P., of Sydney and Ix>ndon ; and another of William 
Gibson, for many years the English Wesleyan minister in Paris. 

1 George Wipram Allen was the son of the Hon. G«orge Allen, a man who rose 
to rmlnenc* in the public life of Sydney and the Colony by force of ability and 
character. He was for a generation the foremost lay leader of Methodism in New 
South Wales. 


the colony were strong. He returned to Sydney on his retire- 
ment from public service in 1876, to spend the remainder of his 
days amongst his friends and books, keeping his pen busy and 
his heart alive to all the best human interests. J. A. Froude, 
the historian, in the volume of Australian travels entitled 
Oceana, has given a delightful glimpse of the saintly man : 

The person whom I liked best [he is reviewing the colonial company 
gathered to meet him at Sir Wigram Allen's house] was Lady Allen's 
father, a beautiful old clergyman of eighty-two, who told me that he 
had read all my books ; that he disapproved deeply of much that he 
had found in them ; but that he had formed a sort of regard for the 
writer. He followed me into the hall when we went away, and gave 
me his blessing. Few gifts have ever been bestowed on me in this 
world which I have valued more. Sir Wigram Allen, I regret to say, is 
since dead ; the life and spirits which were flowing over so freely that 
night are now quenched and silent. He could not have a better friend 
near him than that venerable old man. 

The host of that gathering passed away very suddenly in 1885 ; 
and the father-in-law followed him four years later. 

The first address, excellently written, of the Australasian 
Conference to its mother supplies a telling report of the condi- 
tion and outlook of Methodism in the Southern Seas. The 
former has under its direction 116 European Ministers, with 
some 59 Native Assistant Missionaries in the New Zealand, 
Friendly Islands, and Fiji Districts, nearly 800 chapels and 
other preaching-places, 19,897 Church members, 1 with an 
additional 1,958 on trial. From further statistics it appears 
that the regular ' hearers ' in the Australasian area were 
reckoned at about 80,000, and that 35,570 children attended 
Methodist Sunday schools. 

The address reiterates Australia's need for a continued supply 
of Ministers from England. Two classes of recruits are in 
requisition : 

(1) ' Respectably educated and zealous young men,' well 
trained as Local Preachers, ' who would find among us a sphere 
second to none in the world.' 

1 Somewhat more than half this total were found in the Friendly Islands and 
Fiji ; and considerably more than a sixth in New Zealand, a large proportion of these 
being Maoris. The majority therefore of the Australasian Methodist constituency 
were coloured people and converts from heathenism. Thus while the total member- 
ship of this Connexion was about half that of the Canadian, and half as large again 
as that of Eastern British America, at the date of the formation of the three 
Conferences the Australasian bulked the smallest of the three in the census of its 
White membership. This was distinctly a Church of mixed race, with a pre- 
dominantly heathen-missionary complexion. 


(2) Men fitted ' to labour in the bush ' as missionary 
evangelists, ' with bodies adapted to labour and fatigue, and 
with mental and moral energies which will not flag under either 
physical or intellectual privations.' 
It is added : 

We hope in a brief period to spare you any farther anxiety or 
expense in reference to the Polynesian Missions ; but in order to enable 
us to ensure results so desirable you must send us more men. 

In regard to the most precious and vital of all forms of aid, the 
furnishing of men, the colonial Church, as was natural enough, 
for a long time to come would have to draw from the parent 
source. The troubles British Methodism was then passing 
through were in this respect the gain of the colonies. For the 
time the Reform agitation had crippled many of the home 
Circuits, and compelled a reduction in the number of their 
Ministers. Fewer candidates than formerly were required to 
fill the preaching-ranks in England, so that many young men, 
moved by this vocation, were led to emigrate and offer their 
services to the Church in America or Australia. 

Australian Methodism went on its own way with a joyful 
courage. On the strength of the reinforcements now secured 
from England the Circuits were increased by the 1855 Con- 
ference at a stroke from forty-eight to fifty-six, five of the 
additional centres being formed in Victoria alone. 

The enormous area over which the Australasian Districts 
were scattered, and the expense and hazards of communication 
(chiefly taking place by sea), made the holding of united meet- 
ings difficult. In view of the geographical difficulty it was 
proposed that the General Conference should meet every three 
or four years only, while Annual Sub-Conferences, with large 
powers of discipline and administration, should be held annually 
in the principal divisions of the Connexion. This scheme, which 
followed the precedent of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 
America, was nearly carried at the foundation Conference. 
Renewed again and again, the proposal took effect eighteen 
years later, when the provincial Districts, in virtue of their 
greatly increased strength, had acquired a ' Conference ' 

By this time Queensland, with its capital of Brisbane, had 
grown out of the primitive Moreton Bay settlement into a 


large and prosperous province, reaching its political majority 
when in 1859 ( e ig nt years later than Victoria) it was made a 
distinct colony by separation from New South Wales. In 1863 
Queensland became a Methodist ' District,' then containing 
three Circuits. But the Queensland District remained 
ecclesiastically attached to New South Wales, until it was 
raised to the rank of a Conference in 1893, by which time it had 
been divided into ' North ' and ' South ' Districts (each the 
size of a kingdom), with 1,981 Church members between them 
and twenty Ministers in full work. Western Australia, 
notwithstanding its distance, continued officially an apanage 
of South Australia, because of its slender population and the 
diminutive size of its Methodism, but a kind of sub-Synod was 
annually held at Perth— the Western could not travel in a body 
to Adelaide. However, in 1890, following upon the discovery 
of gold, Western Australia was able to claim distinct colonial 
rank. Ten years later the Conference of this name came into 
existence, when the Church membership was about 2,000 and 
the total population 180,000. 

New Zealand from the outset found it difficult to secure, 
over a thousand miles of sea, 1 an adequate representation in 
the General Conference ; New Zealand Methodism in certain 
respects took on a marked idiosyncrasy. 2 Separation was 
asked for as early as 1881, but refused, though by a narrow 
vote. At length, in 19 10, after the regrafting, first mooted in 
New Zealand, of the younger scions of Methodism in the 
colonies upon the parent stem, the General Conference yielded 
complete independence to New Zealand. The first assembly 
of united Methodism in Australia was held on February 27, 1901. 

Thus by geographical fission and ecclesiastical fusion there 
has grown out of the Australasian Wesleyan Methodist Con- 
nexion of 1855 the present separate Australian Methodist 
Church, with its general and subordinate Annual Conferences, 
and the New Zealand Methodist Church ; each of these embraces 
the whole Methodist people of its own country and 

1 The risk attending New Zealand's dependence on Australia was tragically- 
illustrated when one year the ship foundered which conveyed the President of the local 
Conference, and the deputation chosen from the flower of the island ministry and 
laity ; and every life on board was lost. 

2 The New Zealanders have shown themselves, politically and socially, the most 
' radical ' and the boldest in experiment of all Britishers. The same disposition on 
their part was noticeable in the General Conference of Australasia. 


For foreign missionary purposes New Zealand remains 
associated with Australia. The Australian Missionary Society, 
which has its head quarters at Sydney, has extended its opera- 
tions beyond the Districts of Tonga and Fiji taken over from 
England in 1855, and the Samoa District, which reverted to 
Australian Methodism after that date, to the fields of New 
Britain, Papua (British New Guinea), and the Solomon Islands, 
where it has encountered a heathenism of the most savage and 
degraded type. Apart from the three older missionary Dis- 
tricts just named, in the lately entered areas a Native Church 
membership of 7,000, and above 60,000 adherents of the 
Church, are already counted. Australian Methodism has its 
own great story to tell of missionary enterprise and heroism, 
and of God's day of visitation to the heathen. A wide and 
glorious field lies before that Church in the countless islands 
strewn on the bosom of the Pacific Ocean. 

At the present date (1913) the Methodist Church in 
Australasia (excluding New Zealand) numbers 150,000 members 
in Church fellowship, with nearly 1,000 Ministers. Of this 
number Victoria and Tasmania, which constitute one Confer- 
ence, contain more than a fourth part ; next in order comes 
New South Wales, with above a seventh part ; South Australia, 
with rather less than the same proportion ; Queensland claims 
about 10,000. The Western Australian constituency is 5,000. 
The Fijian Districts make up a third of the entire membership, 
Fiji reporting 35,000 Native members, Samoa 2,600, and the 
remaining Missions close upon 10,000 (including members on 
trial) . Tonga for some years past has had a Methodist Church 
of its own. 

New Zealand Methodism has about 25,000 members and 200 
Ministers. The final Methodist union in that country (embrac- 
ing the Primitive Methodist Church 1 ) took place in the year 
1912, following on its separation from Australia. 

1 This Church declined to join the other Methodists until the latter had separated 
from Australia. 




A sad Chapter— 111 -Treatment of Aborigines— Four distinct At- 
tempts to Evangelize— The Paramatta Seminary— An Industrial 
Mission— The Port Phillip Mission— Francis Tuckfield— John Smithies' 
Effort— In Tasmania— An Effort to deport Aborigines— An extinct 
R ace — Other Efforts in Australia — Present Situation. 

The present chapter must be short and sad ; it relates the 
abortive beginning of a task which is now being resumed with 
more enlightened and persevering faith. 

When the Methodist Mission was commenced in Australia 
very little was known about the native inhabitants of the 
continent. Their existence was scarcely recognized by the 
British Government in its plans of occupation ; regard for their 
claims, or for the effect upon them of the landing of criminals 
on their shores, hardly entered into the thoughts of the pro- 
jectors. Enough to be assured that no serious resistance to 
the invasion need be feared. Not till the settlement had been 
made and intercourse had commenced between the new-comers 
and ' the Blackfellows ■ 1 did the question present itself to the 
relations to be established on the two sides. 

For most of the invaders, as might be expected from their 
antecedents, the doctrine that might is right was a sufficient 
rule ; deception, cruelty, and outrage were practised on the 
Blacks without restraint or shame during the earlier years 
of the New South Wales colony. Acts of theft, and occasionally 
of violence, were committed by the savages ; but the balance 
in the account of injury was beyond calculation on the other 
side, while the Native folk, as the records of exploration show, 
when unprovoked by previous wrongs, were susceptible to 

i The native Australians are not negroes. Tbeir skin is brown-black or coffee- 
coloured, and their hair straight. They are thought to be by origin akin to the 
Dravfdians of South India, whose general type is widely extended ^uth-^twards of 
India. The Tasmanians, on the other hand, were negntos with curly hair and deep 
black complexions. It is supposed that they were the remnant of an eaxher 
Australian population driven off the continent, whose blood has been mingled with 
that of their supplanters. 



kindness and capable of humane feeling and of fidelity, some- 
times in a high degree. Their low intelligence and the rudeness 
of their weapons made them helpless against European arms. 

The Governors of the colony, and some of the magistrates 
and civil officers, had a conscience toward this unhappy people. 
Regulations were laid down for their protection, and attempts 
were made at their improvement. But the arm of the law 
failed to reach beyond the settled districts ; and when wrong- 
doers were put on trial their coloured victims saw little of fair 
play. The black man was scarcely conceived as having human 
rights, while he on his side was an utter stranger to the forms 
of legal vindication, and dreamed only of some wild revenge. 
Religious men, like Samuel Marsden, the Anglican chaplain, 
and Governor Macquarie, strove hard to put matters on a 
better footing, and insisted, so far as their influence went, on 
humanity and just dealing toward the Natives. Here and 
there a knowledge of the Blackfellows' language was acquired, 
and negotiations took place with their chiefs. Lands were 
reserved to them, and endeavours made to draw .them into 
agriculture and regular industry. A boarding-school was 
established at Parramatta under Marsden's direction, in which 
a few Native children were gathered for Christian training. 
For a while this institution gave promise of success. 

But the low morale of the colonists and their general treat- 
ment of the Natives doomed all attempts of the kind, made in 
their neighbourhood, to failure. There were individual cases 
of reclamation, and even of conversion to Christianity ; but to 
form a Christian community out of these savages under the 
existing conditions was impossible ; utter demoralization, 
through adding the worst European vices to their own, and 
ultimate extinction was their inevitable fate where they 
remained in contact with the White people. Their rank in 
the brute creation was matter of debate. Such services as 
could be extracted from them were usually paid for in liquor 
of the vilest sort. Not a few of the settlers looked on the 
' niggers ' as ' vermin,' to be shot at sight when one could do 
this safely ; terrible stories were current of hunting-parties who 
chased the miserable wretches for sport, and spared neither 
man, woman, nor little child. These things happened so lately 
as the thirties and forties of last century, and Joseph Orton 
tells in his journal appalling tales to this effect. In one such 


case, where the guilty party were convicted and suffered the 
penalty of the law, the Governor was denounced by the chief 
newspaper of the colony for the ' mawkish sentimentality ' of 
equalizing the Black man with the White, and counting as 
murder the taking of the life of a creature of so debased an 
order. In a society where such ideas prevailed the White 
man's religion had small chance of commending itself to the 
Black, had the latter been ever so receptive 1 ; and the 
Australian Blacks were the most unreceptive and the shyest, 
while they were the most degraded in mind and habits, of all 
savage tribes. Only the Bushmen of South Africa, and 
perhaps the Andaman Islanders, can be compared with 
them in the childishness of their intelligence and their 
averseness to settled modes of life. 

During the first half-century of our Church's work in 
Australia four distinct attempts were made by the Methodist 
Missionaries to reach the Aborigines. 

I. Samuel Leigh, in his earliest letters, draws attention to 
them, describing with sympathy the work of Marsden and his 
helpers on their behalf. In 1815 he writes home, soon after 
his arrival : 

If the Methodist Conference should think it right to send a zealous, 
holy, patient, and persevering Missionary, to be devoted entirely to 
the native tribes, I have no doubt but he would be gladly received and 
well supported by the inhabitants of the Colony. 

This was certainly true of some of those inhabitants ; and to 
the credit of the Australian Methodists it must be said that 
they never discouraged the Missions to the Blacks, and supplied 
some devoted agents for their prosecution, although they 
naturally put first the needs of their fellow colonists, for whom 
the supply of evangelists in these early days was always 

1 T C Symons, in an Appendix contributed to his Life of the Rev. D. J. Draper 
on 'The Aborigines of Victoria,' which is full of valuable matter, comes to the fol- 
lowing sorrowful conclusion : ' I fear that now (1870) it must be admitted that the 
remnant of the'race is doomed to speedy extermination ; nor can any one who wit- 
nesses their disgusting, diseased, and decrepit condition greatly deplore such a result. 
Yet the Christian cannot fail to feel that the blood of this persecuted and neglected race 
is upon the heads of the Anglo-Saxon colonists, and that in the Great Day the Judge 
will not hold us guiltless of our inhumanity, injustice, and robbery. A httle earner 
hTquotes from another source the sentence : ' The gospel of peace can never be 
successfully preached by those who are engaged m practising the gospel of spoliation 
and extermination ; and although the Missionary himself may have no crimes of 
this sort to answer for, he is naturally included by the Aborigines in the same category 
with those who have.' 


The Missionary Committee listened to the appeal for the 
deeply sunk and deeply wronged Australian Natives. Richard 
Watson, then newly appointed to the Mission House, laid their 
cause to heart ; and when Leigh (after his visit to England in 
1820-21) returned to his work at the Antipodes, accompanied 
by three colleagues, one of these was designated to ' the Mission 
among the Black Natives.' This was William Walker, of 
whose career we have given some account in Chapter II. 
Walker was a clever and lively man, and had evidently made 
himself a favourite with Secretary Watson ; but his letters, and 
his proceedings, do not reveal much force or solidity of char- 
acter. He scarcely seems to gain a grasp of the problem lying 
before him. His fellow labourers in the Mission arrived at an 
unfavourable opinion about him. There were faults on both 
sides in the quarrel which took place ; but when, after three 
years, William Walker threw up his work in consequence of 
the charge brought against him by the other Missionaries, the 
failure of his own Mission was already pronounced. He had 
visited freely the Blacks in the neighbourhood of the settlement, 
and conversed with those who used English, acquiring know- 
ledge of their customs and ideas, and had begun some sort of 
preaching to them ; but he had not gone far afield amongst 
them, nor set himself to acquire their speech. 1 He certainly 
did not reach the back of their minds. His plans culminated 
in the building of a school at Parramatta, after the fashion of 
Mr. Marsden and the Government, who countenanced and 
assisted this further endeavour in the same line. During the 
first months Walker wrote hopefully of this institution, into 
which he gathered a handful of children, 2 expecting out of these 
to form the future evangelists and teachers of their tribe. The 
death of two of the boys 8 — one of whom showed the buddings 
of Christian faith and character — excited superstitious fears 

1 The N.S. Wales Synod, in its memorandum on the work amongst the Blacks, says 
on this point : ' To acquire their language would be of small avail, for their dialects 
are so numerous and diverse that the tribes can scarcely understand each other's 
speech.' The Synod recommends the plan, which the Missionary Committee ap- 
proved, of establishing ' a Seminary for the maintenance and instruction of a select, 
number of youths.' 

* He reports in 1824 seven girls and six boys as under training in the School. 
More than half of these had white fathers. 

' The nomad children soon wearied of boarding-school life. They either broke 
bounds or were taken away by their parents, who seldom stayed long in any one place ; 
or, as in the above-mentioned cases, they sickened and died. ' To confine these 
free-roving and forest-loving wild people in barracks is fatal. This cage-like exist- 
ence, with its compulsory drilling in catechisms and primers, was anything but a 
heavenly condition to the lads in whose ears were the perpetual calls of the wilds.' 


and resentments in the people ; at the same time the Missionary 
was himself stricken with illness. By these misfortunes the 
experiment was wrecked. The older Anglican Parramatta 
school for the Aborigines failed later in a similar way. 

II. The scheme of the Parramatta Seminary had miscarried, 
and its conductor had quitted the field. For some time the 
Missionaries were at a loss as to their future course, and delay 
arose in the winding-up of accounts with Walker. He continued 
to correspond with Richard Watson after his withdrawal in 
1824, and retained a degree of influence with the colonial 
authorities. In December, 1825, he writes to England recom- 
mending concurrence with new proposals expected from the 
local Government, who contemplated the settlement of the 
Natives on land-reservations, where the Missionaries (Anglican 
and Methodist) might assist in training them upon agricultural 
and industrial lines. The futility of previous attempts at 
missioning them in the vicinity of the Europeans is now 
confessed. The hope was that, through segregation and the 
exclusion of pernicious influences, and by dealing with tribes 
untainted by the White man and unprejudiced against him, a 
moral hold upon the Aborigines might be secured, and the 
elements of Christianity and civilization might be instilled into 
their nature. This idea governed the plans for the salvation of 
the Australian Natives at their second stage. Walker concludes 
his letter by saying : ' The liberal grant of the Government has 
given a feature to our Missions in this hemisphere which they 
never had before ' ; he was probably more confident about the 
intentions of the Australian Executive than the facts warranted. 
The following New South Wales Synod communicated with the 
Missionary Committee on the subject, reporting a tentative 
offer of the Government in this direction, and hoping that some 
understanding would be reached. But no actual grant was 
forthcoming to the Methodist Mission. 

The Synod had at its service a man well adapted, as it 
appeared, to carry out the new design. This was John Harper, 
a young Local Preacher of unmistakable energy, who had been 
Walker's assistant, and possessed exceptional knowledge of 
the Black people and a strong sympathy with them ; he had 
also gained some mastery of their language. He threw himself 
into the project of the agricultural settlement, and was sent to 
reconnoitre for suitable ground in different directions. The 


district at first chosen, and approved by Government for the 
purpose, was the Wellington Valley, situated in the hinterland 
to the north-west of Bathurst, but Harper reported the periodi- 
cal floods as a fatal drawback to this locality. It was extremely 
difficult to find a location suitable for the kind of training 
intended, and where the roaming Natives could be induced to 
stay ; a couple of years were spent in exploring and negotiating. 
In April, 1827, Harper writes to the Mission House to say that 
he has found in Bateman Bay, on the coast far south of Sydney, 
the proper situation, at the same time expounding his plans, 
and concluding : 

Let the Mission be established at a place where the Blacks are not 
in communication with the Whites, and my soul for any man's but this 
Mission will prosper. ... It would also in a short time be able to 
support itself. 

However, by this time the Government had changed its mind — 
perhaps it disapproved of the locality chosen » ; the expected 
grant of land was refused, and John Harper's sanguine promise 
was never put to the proof. The post of Missionary ' to the 
Black Natives ' is vacant in the Minutes of 1828,* and next year 
this heading disappears on the list of the Stations. The whole 
Mission was languishing, and after this repeated failure the 
Missionaries were too discouraged to devise further plans for 
Native evangelization. 

III. Joseph Orton's coming, in the year 1831, brought with 
it new life ; and with the revival of other spiritual interests the 
hope and purpose of saving the Aborigines were renewed. 
Orton fulfilled the instructions given him when sent to Australia 
to keep the state of the Natives before him ; his letters home 
bear frequent reference to the matter. No man of missionary 
heart could move about in Australia without being seized by an 
intense longing to save these lost and hapless creatures. It was 
not, however, until his visit to Port Phillip along with John 
Batman in 1836 that Orton was able to take definite steps 
toward resuscitating the Native Mission. He was greatly 

'One may suspect also that our New South Wales Mission, about which its 
friends in England were disquieted, did not now stand in such esteem with the Govern- 
ment as in earlier years. Beside this, similar attempts had been made by other 
people without success. 

* Harper had entered the ministry for the sake of the Native Mission and declined 
a Colonial post. 


touched by the presence and behaviour of a number of the 
Black men at his first public services held on the site of 

Some years previously public attention had been strongly 
called to the condition of Native races and their treatment by 
colonists in different parts of the British Empire ; a Committee 
of the House of Commons sat in the years 1833-34 to investigate 
and report on this wide subject. The inquiry revealed the 
pitiable plight to which the Australian Natives had been 
reduced and the shameful wrongs inflicted upon them. Amongst 
other measures taken to redress these injuries a body of super- 
vision was formed for the country around and behind Port 
Phillip, consisting of a chief and four assistant ' Protectors of 
the Aborigines,' whose business it should be to shield the Black 
people from the aggressions of the settlers, and to see that 
British law was impartially enforced in all matters affecting 
the rights of the former. Directions were given for the reserving 
of lands in different parts of the colony for the undisturbed use 
of the Natives ; in these enclosures they were to be under the 
oversight of the ' Protectors,' who should be responsible for 
their sustenance and general welfare. This well-intentioned 
remedial plan of the British Government was frustrated through 
the obstruction of the colonists and the intractability of the 
Natives ; it proved, according to the testimony of one of its 
principal agents, ' a curse rather than a blessing.' The defects 
of the scheme propounded from England made this result, 
perhaps, inevitable, but its failure was hastened by the incom- 
petence and unfitness of the person appointed as Chief Protec- 
tor. Two of the Assistant Protectors were Methodists and 
Local Preachers, of the names of Dredge and Parker, who did 
their best to carry out the aim of Government. Orton met 
these gentlemen on coming to Melbourne, and was put in the 
way of informing himself respecting the Port Phillip Natives 
and of laying the plans which two years later took shape in the 
Buntingdale Mission. 

The scheme of ' the Port Phillip Mission ' (as it was at first 
named 1 ) was, in fact, a reversion to the idea entertained in 
New South Wales a dozen years earlier of an isolated settlement 
for the Blacks, spacious enough for farming and industrial 

1 When in a little while the Native Mission had to be distinguished from the 
Melbourne Circuit, which lay directly on Port Phillip Gulf, the name ' Buntingdale ' 
was conferred on the former. 


operations of various kinds, which should be combined with 
Christian training. An area of 64,000 acres was set aside by 
Government for the proposed Mission, in vacant territory eighty 
miles west of the newly founded town of Melbourne and half 
this distance from the infant port of Geelong. Bordering on the 
Barwon River, this land presented a delightful mixture of hill 
and dale, wood and grassy plain. So long as its isolation lasted 
this was an ideal spot for the long-desired experiment. Two 
Missionaries were put in charge of the venture — Benjamin 
Hurst and Francis Tuckfield. Though both were young and 
fresh from England, they appear to have been a well-chosen 
pair, and readily won the confidence of the Natives. They 
commenced work with great zest, and showed much practical 
ability. Tuckfield, the younger of the two, was a linguist ; 
before he left Buntingdale he had mastered his people's 
vernacular, and made translations, forming the beginning of a 
literature for the youths he had taught to read. The report of 
the Missionaries during the first two or three years was such as 
to raise the brightest expectations. 

Hurst and Tuckfield succeeded in drawing within the scope 
of the Mission several different tribes. They sought to reach a 
greater number of the wandering people, and to spread the 
leaven of the Gospel far and wide. But the mixture of jarring 
elements wrought a disaster. Jealousies were awakened, giving 
rise to quarrels which became incessant and sometimes furious. 
It proved impossible to continue the Mission upon the plan 
adopted ; no general system of teaching or labour could be 
maintained when different clans refused to live and work 
together. White squatters began to infest the neighbourhood, 
bringing poisonous influences with them, and hardening the 
Native mind against Christianity. Conversions were wanting, 
or ended in backsliding ; the establishment appeared to be a 
hot-bed of strife rather than a home of Christian peace. At this 
juncture the Government aid hitherto afforded was withdrawn, 
and the abandonment of the work seemed inevitable. Hurst 
withdrew in despair and took a colonial Circuit, after five years 
of honest and manful, but defeated, endeavour. 

Tuckfield's heart was too deeply engaged in the undertaking 
to permit of this course. He begged permission to continue the 
attempt, on terms of finding his own maintenance. Not only 
the labour already spent, but a considerable capital sunk in 


plant and in land improvement, would be lost if the stations 
were given up. The Melbourne Quarterly Meeting discussed 
the question, and advised a further trial. It was resolved to 
start again, under Tuckfield's sole direction, on a smaller scale. 
Part of the land was left to cattle-grazers for purposes of 
revenue, and sheep were contributed by friends of the Mission 
to stock the ground remaining, so that the institution might 
support itself. To obviate further quarrels, the Natives on the 
settlement were limited to a single tribe. Peace was now 
secured, and a fair degree of industrial efficiency attained. The 
report of 1845 gives indications of spiritual promise. But the 
hopes thus rekindled died away. The institution had now been 
brought within narrower limits ; in 1846 but forty-five Native 
residents remained on the station, half of whom were children. 
The letting of land to settlers had destroyed the seclusion that 
had been regarded as essential to success. Moreover, colonial 
occupation was advancing in this region, and isolation became 
more and more impossible. As the colonists intruded the 
larger bodies of the Natives withdrew, and Buntingdale came 
to be out of touch with its constituency and was fast losing its 
raison d'etre. The Port Phillip Colony spread with surprising 
rapidity. The combination of adversities overcame at length 
Francis Tuckfield's persevering spirit. He had struggled on for 
five years after his companion's departure ; he now surrendered 
to necessity, and in 1848 removed in his turn to a colonial 
Circuit. The Government resumed the land it had lent ; the 
stock held upon it was sold, and the establishment closed. The 
Buntingdale Aboriginal Mission came to an end, with little or 
nothing to show for its ten years of patient and devoted labour. 
No further organized attempt at the Christianization of the 
Natives has been made in this part of Australia. Within the 
bounds of Victoria they are now reduced to insignificant 

TV. When William Longbottom, bound for Western 
Australia, was wrecked on the South Australian coast and 
detained at Adelaide, the Missionary Committee consented to 
his remaining partly on the ground of the supposed opening 
for reaching the coast Natives in that direction, who had treated 
the shipwrecked party with kindness, and whom Longbottom 
had a strong desire to benefit. The needs of his fellow country- 
men, and his own imperfect health, prevented his addressing 


himself to this task ; and the subsequent trouble in the little 
Society at Adelaide probably interfered with any purpose after- 
wards entertained of planting a Native Mission in South 
Australia. At any rate, nothing was then done, and nothing 
seems to have been attempted since by the Methodist Church, 
for the Aborigines of that colony, although in its vast interior 
regions they are relatively numerous. 

This object was in view from the commencement of the work 
in Western Australia. On John Smithies' arrival at the Swan 
River as Longbottom's substitute, in 1840, he laid himself out 
at the beginning to win the Aborigines, and divided his labours 
impartially between them and the colonists. This was a most 
difficult position to take, but he bore its trials with extreme 
patience through the twelve years of lonely toil on unproductive 
ground which he was called to endure. At the small settlement 
about the Swan River the Natives mingled more freely with the 
colonists than elsewhere. They were better treated, and 
suffered less deterioration than in New South Wales. Smithies 
set up a school for the Black children, which he and his wife 
carried on alone, with occasional volunteer assistance from 
Methodist settlers, while they ministered to the little English 
church. The day school grew into a boarding school, and, had 
a proper staff been provided, substantial success might have 
been won. 

Single-handed as he was, and burdened with a double charge, 
discouraged and hindered by his fellow countrymen and with- 
out help from Government, this steadfast Missionary persisted 
in his work for the despised heathen, and attained results which 
his comrades in more favoured fields failed to secure. The 
Anglican Bishop of Adelaide, who visited Western Australia 
in 1850 and inspected Smithies' school, declared publicly that 
' more had been well done ' for the Native people ' there than 
in any of the colonies eastward.' When, in 1852, a second 
Missionary was sent to the Swan River, the Native school was 
removed from Wonneroo, in the neighbourhood of Perth, to 
that of York, where a healthier site was found, and the Govern- 
ment made a grant of arable land to aid the Mission. On this 
inland location the Missionary was in closer touch with the 
Black people. Here the institution, after the first trials of 
migration, bade fair to prosper. Smithies remained in charge 
of it until his term of service in the colony ended, in the year 


1855. The York Native institution was at this time handed 
over to the Australasian Conference, the only bit of work in 
progress for the Aborigines which the Missionary Society had 
to show. Alas, it also was closed after Smithies' removal, for 
want of a suitable successor. 

V. The indigenous people of Tasmania are regarded by 
ethnologists as even more primitive in type than the continental 
tribes. In habits and mode of life they resembled their 
neighbours, but seem to have been of a more simple and affable 
nature. They suffered from the inhumanity of the first 
colonists much as did the Aborigines of New South Wales, and 
became sullenly hostile. It is unlikely that any missionary 
attempt could have succeeded with them after their mal- 
treatment ; no concerted effort on their behalf was ever 

Anyhow, their scanty numbers and feeble weapons rendered 
the enmity of this wretched folk almost powerless ; they 
wandered shy and furtive over the unoccupied districts of the 
interior, living like wild animals rather than men. Their 
depredations and cattle-raids annoyed the farmers beyond 
bearing, and it was resolved to clear them out of the country. 
Governor Arthur organized for this purpose, in 1830, a great 
' drive,' extending a cordon of police and military from side 
to side of the island so as to pen them up in a corner like sheep 
that they might be captured wholesale and deported. They 
eluded the net, and this costly attempt to round up the savages 
proved an ignominious failure. There was one good man on 
the island, a Methodist farmer of the name of Robinson, who 
by patient and skilful kindness had won their confidence and 
was known as ' the Conciliator.' Seeing that the only choice 
remaining for the abject remnant was removal or destruction, 
on the appeal of the Government he got the Blacks together 
by persuasion, and arranged for their peaceable deportation 
— the friendliness of a single Christian man accomplishing a 
feat that baffled the force and cunning of five thousand. They 
were ultimately placed on Flinders Island, where they were 
cared for and unmolested. But the unhappy race dwindled 
away, and the last of them died in 1876. ' It is a disgrace to 
the Christian Church,' says Canon Charles H. Robinson in the 
newly published History of Christian Missions, ' that the 
aboriginal population of Tasmania was exterminated, or 


allowed to die out, before any missionary work had been started 
among them.' 

Other Churches beside the Wesleyan made earnest efforts in 
the middle decades of last century to reclaim the Australian 
Aborigines, with as little success. The Missionary Threlkeld, of 
the London Society, raised up a Native institution at Port 
Macquarie, north of Sydney, where he laboured ably and 
devotedly for fifteen years, x to confess at the end his utter 
failure. Marsden's Parramatta school — evangelical and in- 
dustrial — had to be abandoned for the reasons previously 
intimated. A subsequent Anglican Mission established in 
Wellington Valley in 1830, by co-operation of the Church Mis- 
sionary Society and the New South Wales Government, met 
the same fate, after twelve years of strenuous labour. 

No prospect being left of surmounting the difficulties from different 
sources in which this mission has for some time past been involved . . . 
the Committee have been reluctantly compelled to relinquish it. 

This sorrowful sentence appears in the Church Missionary 
Society's Report for 1842. A German Mission carried on 
during the same period in Moreton Bay had no better 

The convictions produced in the minds of Christian people 
by the melancholy 'experience above related are summed up 
in the conclusion of Symons' account of the Aborigines * : 

A gleam of hope occasionally cheers the Missionaries ; but these 
are not sufficient to alter the now ail-but universal belief that the race 
are beyond the reach of Christian influence, and are insensible to 
Christian effort. 

Yet Symons, after recounting the hindrances to Native Missions, 
goes on to say : ' All these gigantic obstacles would without 
doubt have been overcome by patient and prayerful labours.' 
He finds the fatal obstacle in the cruel, vicious, unchristian 
conduct of those who bear the name of Christ. This terrible 
indictment of his fellow countrymen by the author practically 
negatives the assumption of any intrinsic impossibility for- 
bidding the salvation of the Native race. Such a confession 

1 Threlkeld, like Tuckfield at Buntingdale, reduced the native vernacular to 
writing, and prepared elementary Christian books for his scholars. 
* See page 371 of Draper's Life. 


of guilt demands ' works meet for repentance,' in the shape of 
continued efforts on the part of Australian Christendom to 
save a people so shamefully injured. If reparation be yet 
possible, surely it must be paid, at whatever cost. 

The above verdict, it must be observed, was pronounced 
after but half a century of effort. The most patient of these 
first essays lasted no more than fifteen years ; they were com- 
menced in comparative ignorance of a race utterly remote in 
constitution from all European experience, and were conducted 
under conditions — arising from the character of the early White 
settlers — as malign as could be well conceived. To accept a 
final defeat in such a case would be to admit that the Methodist 
belief in universal redemption, in the destination of the 
Gospel of Christ for every people, has been mistaken ; 
or to suppose that the colonists of Australia have com- 
mitted a sin against the old inhabitants for which there is 
no repentance ! 

The early ' gleam of hope ' respecting the salvability of the 
Australian Natives has been of late rekindled. During the 
last thirty years these tribes have become an object of deep 
interest to anthropological science. Their ideas and customs 
have been studied, from this point of view, with a sympathetic 
observation and thoroughness which might put missionary 
investigators to the blush. l They have found the Natives to 
possess a social organization which supplies clues to much that 
has been mysterious in the traditions of other races, and appears 
to throw light on the prehistoric state of mankind. Totemism, 
Tabu, Magic, Exogamy, the Matriarchate are institutions in 
full vigour amongst them. An altogether new respect has 
sprung up for a people so interesting to all thoughtful minds. 
Their condition can no longer be regarded as one of mere 
degeneracy or moral decay ; in many respects it proves to be a 
survival of paleolithic times and of aboriginal man. In this 
race there have persisted through insulation primaeval concep- 
tions of fife and nature and the supernatural which elsewhere 
have perished. This persistence reveals so little force of 
discipline ; amidst all that is childish, or grotesque, or repulsive 
in the traits of the Aborigines there is displayed a vein of 
imagination and moral susceptibility that is distinctly valuable. 

1 See particularly The Native Tribes of Central Australia, by Baldwin Spencer and 
F. J. Gillen. 


One refuses to regard such a race as mere ' vessels of wrath, 
fitted for destruction.' 1 

Since the failure of the earlier essays, attempts at the reclama- 
tion of the Aborigines have been renewed, in the light of past 
experience, with a real prospect of success. A Christian 
settlement for the Natives was started by Archdeacon Hale, 
of South Australia, in 1851, near Port Lincoln, on the Spencer 
Gulf. This endeavour was confronted with the old difficulties, 
but storms from all quarters were bravely weathered, and 
twenty years later a competent visitor reported the existence 
here of 

a well-ordered community of more than 80 Aboriginals and half-castes 
. . . living in quietness, sobriety, and godliness, employed in the 
various labours of a sheep-station and a cultivated farm of 200 acres. 

In this spot Christianity took root amongst the Blackfellows. 
Some dozen Missions of the kind are now in existence 
commenced within the last twenty-five years, on the northern 
side of the continent. a Two of these have been in operation 
long enough to give reasonable assurance of permanency. The 
elder of these two, the Mapoon Mission, situated on the York 
Peninsula and founded in 1890, is a Moravian enterprise sup- 
ported financially by the Federated Presbyterian Churches of 
Australia. Its founder, James Ward, went alone amongst a 
tribe who, to his knowledge, had killed and eaten two White 
men within a short time previously. His quiet fearlessness 
and benign aspect cast a spell over them. Often he quelled 
fierce quarrels by stepping between the combatants and taking 
the spear from their hands, while they yielded in sheer astonish- 
ment. Ward died five years later, but his Mission was firmly 
established, and has now 400 Natives under its control.* The 

1 No one can read the sketches of native character in Mrs. Aneas Gunn's books 
on Northern Australian lif e — The Little Black Princess and We of the Never Never Land — 
without recognizing the human worth of the Blackfellow, and without a hope that 
some place may be found for him, after all, in God's kindly world and Christ's wide 
kingdom. Jesus Christ has a Gospel for the nomad, as well as for the town-dweller 
and the land-tiller ; and Australia may afford in her vast interior room and protection 
for the thousands that remain of her roving children of the desert and the forest, to 
whom walls are stifling and hedges make a prison. 

* Here it has been possible to maintain continuous isolation from White cor- 
rupters, colonization being slow and comparatively slight in the north. Improved 
Government has favoured the later Native Settlements. Mrs. Gunn's pictures re- 
flect a disposition toward the Natives on the part of the ranchers in the Northern 
Territory in welcome contrast to that of the New South Wales settlers of a century 

1 See The Romantic Story of the Mapoon Mission., by A. Ward. 


Mapoon Aborigines in the year 1905-06 contributed a sum 
of £4 toward Foreign Missions ! Out of this church two other 
Missions have grown, conducted on the same plan by the 
co-operation of Moravians and Presbyterians. The Yarrabah 
Mission, also in North Queensland, founded in 1892 by the 
Anglicans, has similarly succeeded in imbuing a Native com- 
munity with Christian ideas and in training them to steady 
industry and self-respect. Three other Mission stations on 
these lines have been more lately planted by the English Church 
within the bounds of northern Australia. 

In Western Australia a Mission was created by a Benedictine 
monk of Spanish birth named Rudesindus Salvado. This 
extraordinary man for three years lived amongst the savages, 
sharing their diet and mode of habitation. He died in 1900, 
after fifty-eight years devoted to this derelict people. The 
head quarters of Salvado 's (Roman Catholic) Mission are at 
the Abbey of New Norcia, situated eighty-two miles from 
Perth ; its operations are now widely extended, and it has 
considerable fruit to show. The (Anglican) Archbishop of 
Brisbane was justified when he wrote : 

These missions are refuting the oft-repeated formula that it is 
impossible to raise the Australian Aboriginal. . . . We wonder whether, 
if their natural habits and characteristics are wisely dealt with, and 
they are preserved from the contamination of the White man's drink 
and the White man's lust, the extermination of the race is after all so 
near. l 

The sympathetic and illuminating article on The Australian 
Aborigine, written by Joseph Bowes (Ex-President of the 
Queensland Conference) , 2 shows that the Methodist Church of 
Australia participates in the revived hope for the Native people 
recently awakened in that country. An Interdenominational 
Committee has been formed by the Australian Churches to 
lay plans for joint action on behalf of the Aborigines. 
Methodism has undertaken the region around and behind Port 
Darwin as its share of the common duty. 

The work of evangelizing the tribes [writes Mr. Bowes] will never 
succeed along the old lines. The greatest wisdom, care, experience, 
and tact, with infinite patience, must characterize the work if we are to 

1 The East and the West, April, 1907 : ' A New Mission to Australian Aboriginals.' 

2 Contained in A Century in the Pacific. 


succeed. The people will not be dragooned ; but they may be led. 
They cannot be Anglicized ; they assuredly can be Christianized. 
They must be allowed large liberty within their reserves, and the re- 
tention of all their customs that are not degrading or superstitious . . . 
they will have to be taught the holiness of labour. They have a capa- 
city for spiritual discernment, and rapidly assimilate the simple 
elements of Christ's teaching. . . . The applied benign and elevating 
principles of Christianity are able to save our Aboriginal brethren to 
the uttermost. 

Australian Methodism has assuredly taken heart again for her 
sacred task ; she has been ' baffled to fight better ' ! 

The census of the Australian Commonwealth estimates the 
total number of the Aborigines at 74,000 ; less than a century 
ago there were 200,000 in Queensland alone ! Six-sevenths 
of the survivors roam in the north and west of the continent, 
where colonists are scarce. Their numbers continue to decline. 
This has been so with all the races of the South Seas brought 
into contact with Europeans. The tide of diminution has 
now happily turned in the case of the New Zealand Maori ; its 
ultimate arrest in Australia must not be deemed impossible. 
The Aboriginal may make bold to say : ' I shall not die but 
live, and declare the doings of Jehovah ! ' 


New Zealand 


The Maoris — Victims of Trickery — Samuel Marsden in New Zealand 
— The Bay of Islands Mission — Massacre — The Visit of Samuel Leigh — 
Its Result — ' The Napoleon of New Zealand ' — James Stack — Whan- 
garoa Bay and Wesleydale — John Hobbs — ' A bad Patch ' — A Spell of 
Quiet — Good Progress, but a dark Horizon — Exiles — The Return to 

While the Aborigines of Australia and Tasmania in natural 
capacity and material condition were found at the bottom of 
the human scale, the New Zealand Natives stood on a much 
higher level. The traditions of the Maoris, supported by the 
affinities of their speech, point to their having come from 
earlier homes far to the north-east in Polynesia. Here they 
ousted a weaker race, the Mooris, of whom a remnant survived 
in the Chatham Islands. The change from a tropical to a 
temperate climate improved the breed in robustness and energy. 
Amongst this people, if anywhere, the romantic ideal of ' the 
noble savage ' was to be realized. * Their physical develop- 
ment was powerful and agile ; their sensibilities were keen ; 
their intelligence, within its range, was sound, and their 
imagination lively. They excelled in the gifts of expression, are 
fond of debate, and rose on occasion to a dignified and per- 
suasive eloquence. They were capricious and changeful in 
mood as passionate children. The same man might be gravely 
gentle, a picture of good humour ■ and amiability, one hour, 
and the next hour be found screaming and raging like a maniac 
and dealing death about him. At the same time they were 
capable of profound dissimulation, and enjoyed playing the 
actor's part. Despite their horrible cannibalism, which was 
chiefly practised in war and with a sort of religious meaning, 
they had a place for sentiments of honour and generosity. 

1 See the description in Domett's Ranolf and Atnohia. 


Some of the chiefs in aspect and bearing were truly majestic 
men, and had an air of Homeric grandeur. 

They had acquired the rudiments of land-tillage (though 
without knowledge of the cereals), of house-building and wood- 
carving, of weaving and colouring; they showed a quick 
appreciation of civilized arts when brought to their know- 
ledge. Without the command of metal they had carried the 
use of stone and wooden implements to an extraordinary 
pitch, and showed great manual dexterity. Their forest lore 
was equal to that of the North American Indians. They 
navigated the stormy waters around them with boldness and 
skill, and were expert fishers, though at a disadvantage in 
comparison with Polynesian sailors through their ignorance of 
the principle of the outrigger. Few peoples have surpassed 
them in warlike courage and in the mastery of the primitive 
weapons of the club and the spear. Living in scattered and 
roving tribes incessantly at war with each other, they had 
become adepts in fortification, and their military discipline 
and generalship were not to be despised. When confronted 
with European arms they were little daunted; with their 
acquisitiveness and aptitude for trading, they soon came into 
possession of muskets and gunpowder, and opened a formid- 
able resistance to the White plunderer and buccaneer. The 
Maoris proved themselves by no means a negligible quantity ; 
they were not to be shouldered lightly out of their own 
country, nor outraged and exploited with impunity. 

The first explorers of the New Zealand coasts— Tasman and 
Cook— brought reports which told of the genial climate, the 
natural beauty, the richly watered and productive soil and 
the splendid harbours which distinguished these islands ; but, 
at the same time, of the fierceness and cunning of the Natives. 
They were even credited with cannibal propensities ; the stories 
to this effect, at first doubted, were proved to be true. Toward 
the end of the eighteenth century the Maoris came to be better 
known, as English whalers carried their business into the South 
Pacific'; the inlets of New Zealand furnished convenient havens 
and watering-places. Occasionally whaling-crews made longer 
sojourns on the coast for refitting or victualling, and managed 
to get into traffic with the people, who, through their instinct 
for trade, soon discovered that goods of the greatest value to 
them were to be obtained from the strangers. 


Fairly treated, the Maoris were in many cases hospitable 
and friendly ; but they fiercely resented the trickery and 
violence that were often practised upon them, and were apt to 
visit on the next boat's crew or distressed vessel that came in 
their way the indignities suffered from the last-comers, retribu- 
tion on the wrong-doer's tribe fulfilling their idea of communal 
justice. Amongst the early mariners visiting the Pacific 
shores were brutal and licentious men, beyond the reach of 
their country's laws. The desire existing on both sides for 
profitable commerce hardly restrained in the visitors their 
contempt and unscrupulous greed, nor in the Natives their 
thirst for revenge and plunder. The scenes of crime and 
bloodshed resulting from such intercourse were multiplied, and 
the hostility thus engendered was aggravated by the escape 
to New Zealand of Australian convicts, who associated with 
the savages to enter upon a new career of crime. The trans- 
portation of criminals from Europe spread a blight over the 
South Seas, and counteracted in many ways the operation of 
Christian Missions. From the above causes the relations 
between the New Zealand tribes and white people were greatly 
inflamed, and there were violent prejudices to be overcome 
when the first Missionaries arrived amongst the Maoris. It 
was their work, prosecuted with a heroic fortitude for twenty 
years before the first colonist set foot in the islands, which 
alone made colonial settlement and peaceful British occupa- 
tion possible. Here, otherwise than in North America and 
Australia, the Mission to the heathen paved the way for the 
Mission to the colonists. 

Samuel Marsden was the father of Christian Missions in New 
Zealand, as in Australia. The interest of this kindly and 
enterprising Methodist clergyman in the people of the former 
country was awakened by the following train of circumstances. 
In 1793 a couple of Maoris were captured and carried to Norfolk 
Island — a dependency of New South Wales — in order to teach 
the Natives there the method of treating the wild flax, out of 
which the New Zealanders produced serviceable fabrics. Two 
young chiefs who were abducted proved useless for the purpose, 
as the accomplishment desired was practised only by Maori 
women and slaves. The kidnapped youths were repatriated ; 
and this act, accompanied by a present of live stock, gave 
satisfaction to Te Pahe, a leading Maori chief, who entered 


into friendly relations with the New South Wales Governor, 
paying him a visit at Sydney some years later, accompanied 
by his four sons. Marsden met the distinguished visitors, 
and was strongly impressed by their bearing and by the informa- 
tion they gave him, forming a high opinion of the capabilities 
of the race they represented. Governor King, in reporting 
to England the visit of Te Pahe, speaks of him as ' this worthy 
and respectable chief.' 

On visiting England in 1808, Marsden communicated to the 
Church Missionary Society his knowledge of the New Zealanders 
and his views respecting their Christianization. He had 
adopted the rationalistic idea, at that time advocated in high 
quarters, that industrial must precede religious improvement. 

I recommend [he says] that three mechanics should be appointed 
to make the first attempt, should the Society come to the determination 
to form an establishment in New Zealand — a carpenter, a blacksmith, 
and a twine-spinner. l . . . The attention of the heathen can be gained, 
and their vagrant habits corrected, only by the arts. Till their attention 
is gained, and moral and industrious habits are induced, little or no 
progress can be made in teaching them the Gospel. 

In other respects Marsden's advice and suggestions for the 
Maori Mission show much good sense as well as earnestness. 

The Church Missionary Society welcomed Marsden's 
proposals, and resolved to assist him. In 1809 he returned 
to Sydney, accompanied by William Hall, carpenter, and John 
King, flax-spinner — the first appointed New Zealand Mis- 
sionaries (they were called ' agents,' however, the more honour- 
able name being reserved for clergymen). Thomas Kendall, 
a schoolmaster with some knowledge of farming, was sent to 
complete the trio a little later. * On the outward voyage they 
discovered amongst the sailors, in miserable plight, a Maori 
chief named Ruatara, working his passage homewards, who 
in some strange way had been carried to England and cast 
adrift there after much ill-usage. To this unhappy man 
Marsden played the Good Samaritan — an act of humanity which 
proved of great advantage to the Mission. 

Marsden and his companions had intended to proceed at 
once to New Zealand. But there awaited them the shocking 

1 The instructions given to Hall and King, on the theory that religion was to be 
propagated amongst barbarians through the medium of secular industry, and that 
Christian doctrine should be postponed to practice, are very interesting ; see the 
History of the C.M.S., Vol. I, pp. 206-7. This method was soon abandoned. 

2 Kendall was subsequently ordained. 


news of the massacre of the crew of the Boyd, followed by the 
devouring of many of their bodies, which put a stop to the whole 
adventure. This horrible deed, in which Te Pahe's people 
shared, was an act of reprisal for the flogging of a chief return- 
ing home on the Boyd, inflicted by order of the captain. Te 
Pahe had besought Governor King to stop this kind of outrage, 
too common on board English ships, which stung the Natives 
to madness ; and a proclamation had been issued with this 
intent. A British squadron wreaked summary vengeance 
on the Maoris near the scene of the murder ; they burnt down 
Te Pahe's village, though the chief had exerted himself to 
restrain his fellow countrymen and had saved the lives of some 
of the sailors. 

The exasperation on both sides was now more bitter than 
ever. Only with difficulty and after much delay could Ruatara 
be restored to his people. He persuaded them to welcome the 
missionary settlers ; but the New South Wales people remon- 
strated against their going. Marsden was forbidden leave of 
absence, and a storm of abuse and calumny fell upon him. 
Traders and colonists thought of nothing but the extermination 
of the cannibals. At last it was possible to send Kendall and 
Hall across to reconnoitre ; on their return, accompanied by 
Ruatara and other chiefs bearing an invitation to New Zealand, 
the missionary party was allowed to set sail. Beside the Sydney 
chaplain and the three lay agents already named, with their 
wives and children, six mechanics were enlisted in the colony 
for the expedition. l The courage and faith of these adventurers 
for Christ deserves the highest praise. They landed at the Bay 
of Islands, which is situated on the eastern side of the long 
northward promontory projecting from the Auckland isthmus, 
toward the end of December. On Christmas Day, 1814, the 
first Christian message was delivered on New Zealand soil, 
conveyed by the text of Luke ii. 10 : ' Behold, I bring you good 
tidings of great joy ! ' Marsden returned to Sydney two months 
later, bringing with him several youths for instruction, sons of 
island chiefs, for whom he set up a seminary at Parramatta. 
Before he returned home his friend Ruatara had died, through 
injuries received at British hands. 

The Bay of Islands Mission struck root. Kendall, a clever 

1 The ship carried in addition a horse and a pair of oxen — the first seen in the 
islands and a great wonder to the people. The pig they were familiar with ; imported 
by Captain Cook, this animal had overrun the Northern Island. 


man who soon acquired the Maori tongue, 1 became linguist, 
farmer and planter, and business-manager, as well as school- 
master, to the settlement. His two English colleagues were 
laborious workmen and good Christians, patient and exemplary 
in their dealings with the Natives. Within two or three years 
the establishment grew into material prosperity and attracted 
the admiration of heathen, who were in some respects human- 
ized by its influence s ; the discipline of school told upon the 
children. But religious results were slow to appear ; it was not 
until eleven years later, when Missionaries proper had been for 
some time at work, that the first Maori conversion to the 
faith of Christ was reported. When Samuel Leigh, at Marsden's 
instance, visited the Mission in 1818, he found it doing little to 
spread the saving knowledge of Christ. Great as his admiration 
for the founder was, he came to the conclusion that the basis of 
the enterprise was unsound — that he was putting second things 
in the first place. He attempted, and in some measure suc- 
ceeded, in remedying the defect, drawing up a little Circuit-plan 
for the Mission agents and inducing them to pay regular visits 
to the villages within their sphere of influence, and to hold 
worship with the grown-up savages, beside instructing the 
children in school. Some of them were incapacitated for this 
duty by incompetence in language. Leigh returned to the 
colony little refreshed in body, having found his New Zealand 
voyage the opposite of a holiday-trip, but with his soul fired 
by the thought of preaching Christ to the Maoris, and resolved 
to win his Church to this enterprise. Next year (1819) Marsden 
paid his second visit to New Zealand, and planted the first 
Christian Minister, John Butler, who officiated on the islands. 
He added to his little colony at this time some twenty new 
settlers, to provide for whom he bought a large acreage of 
excellent land from the Natives. With the arrival of Henry 
Williams 3 in 1823 the Church Mission acquired an effective 
spiritual head. 

Leigh's health was far from being re-established ; by the 

1 Thomas Kendall drew up the first grammar and vocabulary of the Maori 
language, published in 1818. 

2 Notwithstanding, Leigh, on entering a village near the settlement soon after 
his coming, found a dozen preserved human heads laid out by the path for his inspec- 
tion. The people were offering them for sale ! Ship-captains frequently bought 
these ghastly objects and took them home, to be disposed of as New Zealand curios. 

3 Henry and his brother, William Williams, spent a long and richly fruitful life 
in the work of the Anglican Church in New Zealand. William Williams was the first 
Bishop of Waiapu. 


beginning of 1820 he was reduced to such a state of weakness 
that his friends insisted on his taking a voyage to England. 
He was the more willing to go as this would give him the 
opportunity of laying the case of New Zealand and the Friendly 
Islands before the Missionary Society. The needs of the latter 
field, to which the way appeared to be reopened after the 
repulse of the London Society's Missionaries, had recently been 
pressed on the Sydney Methodists. Walter Lawry was bent 
on this undertaking, as his senior colleague was on the evangeli- 
zation of the Maoris. The invalid's health speedily recovered 
under the skilled medical treatment received at home, and he 
addressed himself to the new endeavours. 

Leigh laid his proposals before the authorities at Hatton 
Garden, who looked at him with consternation. ' Sir,' said 
Secretary Taylor, ' what are you talking about ? With a debt 
of £10,000 * we are not in a condition either to enlarge the old, 
or undertake the establishment of new, Missions.' Leigh retired 
disconcerted, and found all attempts to reopen the subject in 
vain. Day and night he brooded and prayed over the charge 
that had been laid upon him. At last, one morning, he awoke 
with the thought that it was not money, but money's value, 
that was needed. Any cash obtained to finance the Mission 
must be turned into goods in dealing with the Natives. Why 
should he not try to secure the goods directly ? People might 
contribute in kind, who would be slow to open their purses 
for foreign missionary objects. Armed with this novel sugges- 
tion, Leigh returned to the attack. Permission was given him, 
with no very sanguine expectations, to make the attempt. His 
first appeals at public meetings in the north of England suc- 
ceeded beyond hope, and the Liverpool Conference of 1820 
sanctioned the project, on his statement of the case. It was 
understood that Leigh would himself conduct the Mission to 
New Zealand, and that Lawry would captain the Tongan 

During the ensuing autumn and winter Leigh had a mar- 
vellous campaign in the provinces, especially in the manufac- 
turing districts. Lancashire and Yorkshire poured goods for the 

1 The magnitude of this adverse balance, which had accumulated in a few years 
notwithstanding the rapid increase in the Society's income, was due to the number 
of new Missions simultaneously opened, and to the heavy expense of some of them — 
particularly of the Ceylon and New South Wales ventures — which had far exceeded 
the official calculations. 


South Seas on the Mission House in tons, so that warehouse- 
room could hardly be found for them. Some disquieting 
criticism afterwards arose from this unusual mode of floating 
Missions ; it was impossible to trace the disposal of the several 
articles contributed, or to present an audited balance-sheet of 
the transaction ; but, as Leigh's biographer writes, the evidence 
is ample that 

there was no profligate expenditure. The goods were received as a 
sacred deposit ; they were shipped to New South Wales, and reshipped 
as they were required to New Zealand. They furnished the means for 
purchasing a missionary estate there, for erecting premises for the 
purposes of the Mission, and for building preaching and school-houses 
in the adjacent villages ; and were laid out with such prudence and 
judgement that they almost entirely supported the Mission for five 
years. 1 

About this time a visit was paid to England by a couple of New 
Zealand chiefs named Hongi and Waikato, who came under the 
auspices of the Church Missionary Society, and were conducted 
by its agent, Thomas Kendall. * Hongi, the uncle of Marsden's 
protege Ruatara, was an extraordinary man — the Napoleon 
of New Zealand. A powerful chief, with possessions extend- 
ing across the breadth of the Northern Island, he was already 
famous and dreaded amongst the Native warriors. His 
character exhibited the strange contradictions of the Maori 
nature. A cannibal amongst cannibals, ferocious in battle to 
the last degree and ruthless in his ambitions, he was yet 
capable of kindness and loyalty, and in peace wore mild and 
amiable manners. He was lionized by English society, and 
made a most favourable impression on his reception at Court. 
He gave it out that he was only anxious for the civilization of 
his people, and greatly desired the introduction of Missionaries 
and schoolmasters. His presence and conduct in England 
undoubtedly helped the missionary appeal for New Zealand. 
He had interviews with the Committees of both the Societies 

1 Life of the Rev. S. Leigh, by Alexander Strachan, p. 126. The ' almost entirely ' 
of Strachan's last sentence would appear, from the Mission House records, to be some- 
what beyond the mark. The goods contributed were appropriated carefully to their 
intended use, and went far to meet the foundation expenses of the Mission. 

1 Of Kendall we have already written. This able man turned out a renegade, and 
had to be dismissed by the C.M.S. after his return to New Zealand. He was proved 
to have abetted, if he did not instigate, Hongi's criminal designs, and assisted him 
to secure munitions. The trade with the Natives in muskets and gunpowder was very 
lucrative, and missionary agents were strictly forbidden to have any part in it. 
Kendall had yielded to this temptation. 


concerned, who made him valuable gifts and counted on his 
support — at Hatton Garden the two chiefs were addressed as 
' our friends and brothers.' To Mr. Leigh, whom he had met 
on a visit of the latter to the Bay of Islands, Hongi paid 
particular deference, and insisted on sharing his lodgings while 
in London. All the time, with deep duplicity, he was laying 
plans for the war of conquest on which he embarked so soon as 
he had returned home. x At Sydney he began to throw off the 
mask, turning the costly presents he had received into money 
for the purchase of arms. ■ He retained, however, his friend- 
ship for Leigh, and assumed the role of protector both of the 
Anglican and Wesleyan Missions. But the dreadful war in which 
Hongi embroiled north New Zealand was destined to wreck 
Leigh's Mission ; it threw back the Christianization of the 
islands for many years. 

Samuel Leigh arrived at Sydney on his return from England 
in September, 1821, bearing the title of ' General Superin- 
tendent of Missions to New Zealand and the Friendly Islands.' 
Lawry was preparing to set out to the latter station, 
while Leigh made his arrangements to occupy the former. 
William White, who had been appointed as Leigh's assistant, 
arrived on the scene some time later. Leigh brought from 
England a wife to share his adventure for Christ — a lady 
of courage and endurance equal to his own, who doubled his 
efficiency. Just before their leaving Sydney news arrived of the 

1 Hongi was not the first to use fire-arms in Maori warfare. A neighbour chief, 
a few years earlier, getting hold of three muskets and a supply of gunpowder, had 
won a great victory, driving everything before him ! The Bay of Islands settlement, 
which was formed on Hongi's territory, had not long been founded when the chief 
raised a dispute with Marsden on this question, threatening to stop the Mission by 
refusing all labour and supplies save in exchange for munitions. ' If you can keep 
your fire-arms out of the country altogether,' he said, ' I am satisfied ; but having 
allowed them to reach your enemies and mine (for this, of course, the Mission was not 
responsible), why do you so foolishly insist on keeping your friends without them ? ' 
Marsden stood firm in his decision to keep the Mission clear of the trade in muskets 
and gunpowder. After this discussion Hongi determined upon his visit to England. 
The death of the gentle Ruatara had removed a check on his uncle's violence and 

* Under Mr. Marsden's roof at Parramatta Hongi gave a declaration of war to 
Hinaki, a neighbouring New Zealand chief whom he happened to find there — a man 
of singular physical beauty and strength. They travelled home on the same vessel, 
and Hinaki sought every means to placate his rival, but to no purpose. Hostilities 
shortly broke out, and the unfortunate Hinaki, overpowered by the invaders' guns, 
fell in the battle, when Hongi rushed on his victim, scooped out his eye and swallowed 
it, and drank the blood gushing from his throat ! When the Missionary afterwards 
upbraided him he replied : ' We must observe our country's customs — and the blood 
of Hinaki was sweet ! ' Such was the patron on whose support the Mission had 
oetmted. This crisis came about some time after Leigh commenced his work. A 
thousand of Hinaki's tribe fell on the battle-field, and three hundred were devoured 
in the orgy Which followed. 


Maori war, but Mr. and Mrs. Leigh were not to be deterred. 
They embarked at Port Jackson on the last day of 1821, and 
on February 22 of the following year their ship cast anchor 
in the Bay of Islands. Leigh himself was known to many of 
the Natives, who shared in the welcome given to him by his 
Anglican friends. The Maoris showed their joy in the 
accustomed fashion — ' by rubbing noses and shedding a 
profusion of tears.' According to previous arrangement, the 
Leighs stayed at the Church Mission until the site of the 
Wesleyan station should be determined and the way should 
be clear for their independent work. 

Hongi's return with ample munitions had brought about a 
disastrous change in the political situation. He was still 
vexed with the Bay of Islands settlers, because they opposed 
the importation of fire-arms. Observing his ill-temper, the 
Natives showed toward the Missionaries an unwonted insolence, 
and the procuring of labour became difficult. Thefts from 
the mission premises and other damages were multiplied ; 
obstructions were thrown in the way of the Mission work. 
Leigh at last went to lodge a complaint before the chief- 
paramount, who was then preparing for his campaign against 
Hinaki, at the same time consulting him respecting the 
situation of his Mission. Hongi replied to this effect : 

Mr. Leigh, I have grateful recollection of your kindness to me when 
I was in your country. I will not suffer a hand to touch you — Hongi 
has said it ! You are making preparations, I hear, for commencing your 
Mission amongst the tribes at the River Thames and Mercury Bay 1 ; 
that Mission will not now be necessary, as I intend to sweep that people 
from the face of the earth. I would advise you to go to Ho-do-do, where 
my sister resides and where you will obtain protection. But, to be plain 
with you, since you stand in the way of our obtaining muskets and 
powder, we New Zealanders hate both your worship and your God. In 
our very hearts we hate them. They are not like ours. 

Then, as though he had gone too far in self -disclosure, Hongi 
added more mildly : ' When we have seen more of the 
Europeans we may perhaps change our opinion.' 

This was not a promising outlook. The Mercury Bay site 

1 Marsden had recommended this very desirable situation, which lay some distance 
south of the Bay of Islands and afforded convenient access through a fertile valley 
to the interior. Captain Cook gave the River ' Thames ' its name, anticipating that 
the future capital of the country would be placed upon it. Leigh appears to have 
made some arrangement with Hinaki when they met in Sydney. Possibly this 
negotiation went to inflame Hongi's jealousy. 


for the Mission was perforce abandoned. Hongi was as good 
as his word, and Hinaki's people on that coast were wiped out 
a few months later. Leigh's own boat was commandeered for 
the expedition. During the five years of desolating wars 
which followed, though the Church Mission at the Bay of 
Islands was harassed and its work confined to narrow limits, 
it held its ground and was never exposed to military attack. 
One important gain issued from so many calamities — Hongi 
formed at the Bay of Islands a depot for his prisoners-of-war, 
captured from tribes spread over most of the North Island, 
whom he reduced to slavery. These the Missionaries had the 
opportunity of befriending and instructing. The hearts of 
many were touched by the kindness shown them, and their 
minds opened to the new light. Conveyed as bondmen to 
distant places, or returning home on liberation after Hongi 's 
fall, they carried the knowledge of Christ's name afar, and 
prepared the way for His messengers. The ministry rendered 
in the prisoners' camp had much to do with the rapid spread of 
Christianity in later years. 

Mercury Bay being barred against him, Leigh set out explor- 
ing in other directions, but was hampered for lack of a colleague, 
White's coming being indefinitely postponed. In this 
emergency James Stack, a young lay friend from New South 
Wales, volunteered his assistance. Stack was one of two 
Methodist brothers who had emigrated from Portsmouth to 
Australia not long before this time. He had listened to Leigh's 
addresses in the colony, and after the departure of the latter 
was moved by the Spirit of God to follow him. A free passage 
to the islands being offered by a friendly merchant, Stack took 
advantage of it forthwith. He presented himself unannounced 
to the astonished Missionary : 

I am come [said he] from a sense of duty to share in your labours 
and trials, and intend to make myself useful in any occupation for which 
you may consider me qualified. My first business, I suppose, will be to 
learn the language, for then I can work on the week-days and preach 
Christ on the Sundays. 

Stack was an educated man, employed as a Government 
surveyor in Australia, and proved apt in language-study. A 
good accountant and man of business, he was able to relieve 
Leigh, much to the latter's comfort, in this direction. In many 


ways he showed himself an obliging and devoted companion 
— the very helper the Missionary needed. He had the gift of 
preaching, and in due course qualified for the ministry. For 
some years James Stack remained attached to the New Zealand 
Mission after Leigh's retirement, but on his visit to England 
in 1831 he was led through circumstances to seek a transfer 
to the Church Missionary Society. The harassing delay in 
fixing their own location was not lost time ; it gave Mr. and 
Mrs. Leigh an opportunity to get a substantial hold of the 
Maori speech, of which the former had gained a smattering 
during his former sojourn at the Bay of Islands. 

In July of that year the Mission party were cheered by the 
appearance in the Bay of the ship St. Michael, which had been 
chartered to convey Walter Lawry and his wife to Tongatabu, 
and brought welcome supplies for the Leighs. The meeting 
was a mutual refreshment. But a serious vexation arose from 
this visit. In bartering for provisions some of the ship's 
officers, against their instructions, yielded to the solicitations 
of the Natives for guns and powder. This disloyal ' gun- 
running ' not only increased the peril to the lives of the Mis- 
sionaries, but aggravated their difficulties in dealing with the 
Maoris ; already the Mission had been boycotted, so far as the 
procuring of flesh-meat was concerned, because it would not 
traffic in this commodity. Not long after this Leigh and Hall 
narrowly escaped murder by a company of savages, because 
of their refusal to part with an axe they happened to be using. 
Missionaries at first had freely disposed of such tools by gift 
or barter, until they found them turned into lethal weapons. 
' Muskets and powder ' the Maoris clamoured for when the 
White man attempted a bargain of any sort. Hongi had 
taught them to regard European arms as the one thing needful 
for security and power. 

Amid such conditions Leigh would have been well advised 
to defer establishing any new Mission until the war was over, 
meantime assisting his friends at the Bay of Islands and perfect- 
ing his own preparation. But to this course he could not 
reconcile himself. He had strong faith in a protecting pro- 
vidence, and felt bound by duty to his own Society to proceed 
at all hazards. His voyages of investigation were attended 
with constant danger ; repeatedly his life was threatened. 
Almost everywhere he found the people distracted, and ready 


to be stirred to murderous rage by any untoward accident. 
At Ho-do-do, however, Hongi's sister gave the visitors a joyful 
reception, and ' the barbarous people showed no little kindness.' 
Here the disposition of the Natives was most promising, but 
the situation was judged on several accounts very unsuitable. 
Again and again, in other quarters, the voyagers were met 
with mockery and threats. Sixteen months passed away 
before any decision could be reached. 

Toward the end of May, 1823, the 5/. Michael touched at 
the Bay of Islands on her way back from Tonga to Sydney. 
Leigh detained her to assist him in farther exploration. The 
district first reconnoitred on this vessel was found depopulated 
by the war ; the few Natives met with were friendly, and wept 
on the Missionary's departure. As a last hope it was deter- 
mined to try Whangaroa Bay, the scene of the Boyd massacre, 
a second time, although Leigh, on the earlier attempt, had 
barely escaped with his life. The position was in many ways 
particularly attractive, the Whangaroa district being healthy, 
fertile, and comparatively populous, and distant only thirty- 
five miles north-west from the head quarters of the Bay of 
Islands Mission. The Harbour was one of the best in the 
South Seas, and in the highway of navigation. Possibly the 
Natives would prove more hospitable on a second appeal. 
Accordingly, Leigh, accompanied by several of the Bay of 
Islands staff, embarked again for this beautiful but ill-famed 
bay, having the St. Michael still at his service. This time the 
people, some of whom recognized Leigh from his former visit 
and raised cries of welcome, though importunate in their 
demand for muskets, were in an affable mood. Permission 
was given for the Missionary's residence at a lovely spot seven 
miles up the river, where two brother-chiefs lived, Te Puhi 
and Te Ara by name, at the head of a considerable tribe. 

The latter of the two, known to English traders as ' George,' 
was the chieftain whose flogging on board the Boyd resulted 
in the tragedy related on an earlier page. George had visited 
Sydney and had picked up a little English, along with a know- 
ledge of the White man's wickedness. Their subsequent 
behaviour throws a sinister light on the motives of this pair 
of brothers. They probably wished to have within their reach 
a store of European goods, of which by fair means or foul they 
might avail themselves ; and they expected to profit by the 



improvements which the Missionaries would introduce in the 
way of building and cultivation of the soil. The Bay of 
Islands supplied a striking example of this benefit. The 
manners of Te Ara — the younger, but the higher in rank and 
power — exhibited a contrast resembling that described in the 
case of Hongi, but his temper was even more uncertain ; and 
there was a meanness about his craft, and a childislmess in 
his fits of passion, from which the great warrior was free. The 
Mission was to be at the mercy of this plausible barbarian's 

Notwithstanding the ship-captain's warnings, it was decided 
to accept the invitation of Te Puhi and Te Ara, and Leigh 
gave the name of Wesleydale to the valley which was now to 
be his home and the first seat of Methodism in New Zealand. 
Two ominous occurrences disquieted the party. A booth was 
erected for shelter on the plot selected for the Mission house, 
but a storm of rain arising in the night swept away the frail 
structure, and with it some valuable stores. The sleepers 
barely escaped the flood streaming down the hillside, and some 
of them suffered severely through the exposure. Native 
onlookers had intimated the danger as the building proceeded, 
but their advice passed unheeded. This misfortune brought 
a loss of prestige added to the material damage. The rainy 
season had now set in, and the more permanent dwelling, 
reared on higher ground with the help of Natives under the 
ship-carpenter's direction, was built under disadvantageous 
conditions. Pending its completion, the Missionaries sheltered 
in a canvas tent far from waterproof, and sickness attacked 
them. Still there was no thought of retreat. Meantime 
another incident transpired, calculated to excite the darkest 
forebodings. One Sunday a war-canoe unexpectedly appeared, 
returning from some foray with a cargo of prisoners intended 
for slaves. One of these was forthwith killed, roasted, and 
eaten by the villagers, unabashed by European company, to 
celebrate the victory. Not without cause had the Whangaroa 
Natives earned the title of ' the man-eating tribes.' 

The captain of the St. Michael made haste to weigh anchor, 
taking on board the Bay of Islands visitors, with the ex- 
ception of one couple, who stayed with the Leighs till their 
departure. Mrs. Leigh would not be separated from her 
husband. The faithful James Stack stood by them, and the 


serviceable Luke Wade, a hearty sailor who attached himself 
to the Mission in the capacity of handy-man. The two latter 
remained on the ground until the destruction of Wesleydale 
in 1827. William White, who, leaving England early in the 
previous year, had been detained to assist the New South 
Wales staff, joined his colleague before the end of June. All 
lived under one roof, and with a strict domestic order. The 
Mission was now strong enough to have made an effective 
beginning, had the conditions been in any way favourable. 
But the household was exposed to continual thieving and 
molestations, which it had no means of preventing, and 
which the chiefs either could not or would not repress. In the 
intercourse of the Missionaries with the principal chiefs them- 
selves scenes of wild passion and threats — sometimes even 
acts — of violence alternated with tearful apologies and lan- 
guage of affection. Disgusting cruelties and indecencies were 
almost daily witnessed, reproof being commonly wasted 
breath. » The calmest faith, the strongest nerve, were scarcely 
proof against the peril of death contemplated in hideous 
forms which surrounded this isolated company day and night. 
Twice during Leigh's brief sojourn at Wesleydale hostile 
parties visited Whangaroa, and massacre appeared imminent. 
A murderous conflict was prevented with difficulty, the 
mediator in one instance suffering personal violence. On 
another occasion the Mission house was assaulted in a mad 
quarrel between Te Ara and Te Puhi. 

Leigh's powers of endurance had been strained by the sus- 
pense and the toilsome journeys undergone during the months 
of delay at the Bay of Islands, and the experiences of Whan- 
garoa told on him heavily. Mrs. Leigh was now the more 
energetic of the two ; her buoyant spirit sustained the courage 
of the party, and her ingenuity delivered them from desperate 
domestic plights. She speedily gained influence over the 
savage women, and initiated the more capable into the 

1 One day a chief was rebuked for some shocking barbarity inflicted on his slave, 
when he retorted in a paroxysm of indignation : ' You talk of crime and cruelty 
to me ! I have been in New South Wales and witnessed the amusements, drunken- 
ness, and riots of white men. They curse, they steal, they kill. Go and teach your 
countrymen your religion. Your own people will not embrace your Christianity. 
You speak of cruelty ! I saw them hang a white man in Sydney, and never did I 
witness so horrible a spectacle. They kept him in prison several days after they told 
him he must die — was not that cruel ? They brought him out alive, and hung him 
up before all the people — was there no cruelty in that ? v Here was the Maori cannibal 
rising up in judgement against the English Christian ! It was difficult to answer. 


mysteries of needlecraft. Horrified at the infanticide which 
was openly practised, she found that the present of frocks 
for the new-born infants could be made a means of salvation, 
stirring in the mothers a pride over their decorated offspring, 
and so giving maternal affection time to awaken. When, in a 
few weeks the naturally clever Maori girls were able to cut out 
and stitch together some sort of baby-garments, the delight was 
immense, and portended a social revolution. Mrs. Leigh's 
sewing-class, which no girl was allowed to attend without a 
preliminary use of soap and water, was a shining success. 
The fencing, gardening, and ploughing operations of the male 
members of the Mission attracted similar admiration, and 
their results were readily appreciated. The Maori savage, at 
his worst, was open to appeal upon the practical side, and 
would listen to the teachings of the Christian faith when 
attended with good works of agricultural and domestic industry. 
Despite the wretched moral and physical surroundings of 
Wesleydale and the sufferings of its pioneers — sufferings 
scarcely exceeded in the first attempts of any other Mission — 
the Wesleydale experiment bore the promise of success ; it 
was no miscalculated venture. 

Its breakdown seemed, however, imminent when, a couple 
of months after his arrival, the strength of the leader collapsed. 
The winter rains of that season were exceptionally heavy. 
Hastily built and damp to begin with — a wooden frame, 
thatched for walls and roof with rushes — the Mission house was 
far from weatherproof. The sick Missionary, prostrated with 
fever, could find no dry spot for his bed, until he crawled into 
a large empty cask which had served as a packing-case. The 
habitual pilferings of the Natives aggravated the straits of 
housekeeping, and made life a scene of continual irritation, 
only to be endured by a man in robust health and high spirits. 
Manifestly, Leigh himself was unequal to the conflict — indeed, 
he began to despair of life. By this time William White, so 
long expected, had joined the Mission. A man of sturdy 
strength, he resolved to hold the fort, if his chief must depart, 
despite his inexperience. Stack was there, to make up his 
deficiency in this respect. Fortunately other helpers within 
a few weeks made their appearance. On August 6 the people 
at the Mission house, busy with repairs, heard the shout 
' Pakeha ! ' (Europeans !). Looking down the valley, they 


saw a couple of strange white faces approaching. The strangers 
proved to be Nathaniel Turner and John Hobbs, who three 
days before had disembarked at the Bay of Islands and had 
footed it overland with a Native guide. Mrs. Turner and the 
Mission stores were to follow later by sea. 

The Missionary Committee, encouraged after its first reluct- 
ance by the popularity of Leigh's appeal for the heathen of the 
South Seas, threw much energy into the prosecution of the 
New Zealand Mission. White's designation for this work by 
the Conference of 1821 was followed by the appointment of 
Nathaniel Turner a few months later. They sailed from 
London together in February, 1822, » about the time of Leigh's 
departure from Sydney for New Zealand. The two young 
Missionaries were employed at Hobart Town or Sydney, where 
help was much needed, for a year or so — it was useless forward- 
ing them onwards till Leigh had decided on his location. So 
soon as this point was settled, White was dispatched to the 
front at once ; the Turner couple followed eight weeks later. 
The latter had won golden opinions in Sydney. 

Mr. and Mrs. Turner sailed with Samuel Marsden, who was 
now making his third voyage to New Zealand, coming to inspect 
the Bay of Islands settlement and to bring fresh supplies and 
reinforcements. 2 This good man, now approaching his sixtieth 
year, supported the New Zealand undertaking with wonderful 
vigour and an enthusiasm proof against every disappointment. 

Beside Nathaniel Turner another Methodist Missionary was 
conducted by Marsden to New Zealand. This was John 
Hobbs, who, like James Stack, volunteered from the colony 
for the New Zealand work. Hobbs, the second founder of 
Methodism in this country, a native of Kent and a blacksmith 
by trade, was a man of sterling qualities — of good sense and 
good humour, of strict fidelity, of great working power, clever 
alike with his hands and his tongue'. Little favoured in point 
of education, he was a born linguist. He had volunteered 
for foreign service in England, and his offer was favourably 

1 Strong representations had been made from New South Wales as to the undesir- 
ability of sending unmarried Missionaries to that quarter. William White's departure 
had been postponed on this account, but he could not find a partner to suit him, and 
Richard Watson writes with some vexation complaining of his ' capriciousness ! ' 
He went out after all a single man. Four years later he returned to England, with- 
out leave, in order to remedy the defect. He had been allowed to visit New South 
Wales for the purpose, and extended the permission. He was a strong, shrewd, and 
capable man, but not very tractable. 

1 Henry Williams was a fellow passenger with Turner and Hobbs on the Brompton. 


entertained. But delay arising, he sailed on his own account 
to Van Diemen's Land, where he made himself remarkably 
useful in local preaching. Marsden, the Sydney chaplain, 
meeting him there, was struck with his ability, and offered 
him a post in the Anglican Mission. He preferred to remain 
a Methodist, and elected to join Nathaniel Turner, then on 
the point of setting out to New Zealand. Raised to the 
ministry in 1824 on Turner's recommendation, he survived 
till 1883, assisting at the formation of the Australasian Confer- 
ence and devoting a full life to the work of God in the South 
Seas. He ranked for many years as District Chairman, and 
was the first appointed Governor of the Maori Native Institu- 
tion (1855). Shortly after the last-mentioned date John 
Hobbs was compelled to ' sit down,' and enjoyed a long and 
pleasant eventide in his adopted country. 

The coming of Turner and Hobbs caused a commotion at 
Whangaroa, especially when it was known that they had 
sailed with Mr. Marsden, who was accounted a great chief in 
the island. Te Ara, on being informed that the captain of 
the Brompton was afraid to bring his passengers round to 
Whangaroa because of the bad reputation of the people, flew 
into a rage, and insisted that Mr. Leigh should ' write instantly, 
and let them know that if they come not you shall all go ! ' 
Nine days later a Government sloop sailed into the harbour, 
bringing the honoured visitor, under whose charge Mrs. Turner 
also arrived. The Wesleydale Maoris paid the most respectful 
attention to Mr. Marsden, who carefully inspected the Mission, 
' and expressed his astonishment that such an amount of work 
should have been accomplished in so short a time and by so 
few hands.' He inquired into the conduct of the Natives, the 
situation and disposition of the neighbouring tribes, and the 
progress of the Missionaries in the Maori tongue. Nothing 
was wanting to show his friendship toward the Methodist 
Mission, his desire to further its prosperity and to impress the 
Native people in its favour. 

It was clear both to Marsden, his friend and adviser, and to 
his young colleagues that Leigh must be removed immediately. 
The latter held a meeting at which they formally declared that 

Brother Leigh should go by the ship Brompton to Port Jackson, and 
secure the medical treatment he so obviously requires, but which cannot 
be obtained in this country. 


It was a hard sentence for the sick man ; he saw signs of a 
softening in the hard and crime-stained nature of the Whan- 
garoa Maoris ; he felt sure that his sufferings would bear fruit 
in conversions amongst them before long ; but he must needs 
admit that he could expect no recovery of health in his present 
surroundings, and that a prompt removal afforded the only 
hope of future service to the cause so dear to him. It was 
arranged that he should return forthwith to Sydney under Mr. 
Marsden's care. The chief Te Puhi was surprisingly affected by 
the removal of the man whose patience he had so grievously 

Go to New South Wales [he said in broken accents], get better, and 
come back to us soon. If you do, I will not go to war any more ; I 
will stay at home and plant kumaras (sweet potatoes). 

Despite his evil ways and fits of truculence, the kindness of the 
Missionary and his wife had touched the fickle barbarian's 
heart. The Bay of Islanders sailed homewards on August 19, 
taking Mr. and Mrs. Leigh with them, who now looked on 
Wesleydale and Whangaroa for the last time. 

Marsden's departure for Sydney was delayed for some weeks. 
He had several interviews with Hongi, labouring to persuade 
him to lay down the sword. For the time the missionary 
father's pleadings appeared to prevail. 

My chiefs tell me [the warrior confessed] that they want no more 
war, and I have myself suffered so much during the late fighting, not- 
withstanding my victories, that I am satisfied there is no good in war — 
none, none at all ! 

The ruling passion, however, soon broke out again ; northern 
New Zealand was plunged once more in blood through Hongi's 
pride and lust of conquest. Marsden asked him how, in certain 
eventualities, he would act by the. two Missions, which might 
be in his way. With a tone of contempt he answered : ' Hongi 
has said long since that the Missionaries at the Bay of Islands 
and Whangaroa shall be protected.' This intention was 
doubtless sincere, and Hongi did not wish his pledge in the 
latter case to be understood as a mere promise of personal 
safety to Leigh, to whom he was bound by a debt of honour. 
The Brompton sailed for Sydney on September 7, having on 
board, along with Marsden and the Leighs, several Maori chiefs, 


whose sons had died at Parramatta and who desired to recover 
their bones that they might lay them in the ancestral sepul- 
chres. These men were shocked at the captain's weighing 
anchor on the Sabbath. They blamed Mr. Marsden for allowing 
this in contradiction to his teaching about the sacredness of the 
day, and regretted their embarking. The captain, they were 
sure, was under his orders ; one of them said : ' Mr. Marsden, 
you do wrong, and if your God be like the New Zealand god, 
He will kill your ship ! ' Strange to say, the sails had scarcely 
filled when an adverse gale sprang up, which drove the vessel on 
to the rocks before she could clear the bay. The Missionaries 
and Mrs. Leigh were at once taken off in the ship's boat, which 
landed them with the utmost difficulty amidst the storm four 
miles away, on a desolate island, without provisions. The boat 
returned to the ship, now fast breaking up, to carry the crew 
and the rest of the passengers in another direction. By a good 
providence the storm drove to the Missionaries' isle of refuge 
a Native canoe, which furnished a supply of food and carried 
news of the shipwreck to their friends. Three days and nights 
they remained here, in such rude shelter as could be extem- 
porized, until they were taken off by a rescuing party dispatched 
from the Church Mission. The chief Te Ara, on hearing of the 
disaster, was in wild distraction between grief over the mis- 
fortune to his ' parents, Marsden and Leigh,' and delight at the 
punishment which had fallen upon the ship-captain, who had 
passed a slight on himself and his people by refusing to enter 
Whangaroa harbour ! 

In the wreck of the Brompton Leigh and his wife lost their 
belongings, escaping with bare life. He reached Sydney in the 
month of November, a physically shattered man. The physi- 
cian gave him a hope of a complete cure, but he lay for months 
disabled, and in distressing pain. Gradually, in the course of 
the next year, he found strength to resume preaching, and was 
put in charge of a New South Wales Circuit. For seven years 
thereafter he continued to labour in the colony, interesting 
himself greatly in attempts to reach the Aborigines and helping 
his brethren in New Zealand so far as he could from a distance. 
But his old vigour was gone ; Samuel Leigh was a prematurely 
aged man. 

Leigh left at Wesleydale an orphaned household. James 
Stack, who had spent in New Zealand scarcely a year, was the 


most experienced of the party. He had acquired some facility 
in the language, and was versed in the business affairs of the 
Mission. But his status was still that of a lay agent — in 1825 
he was received as a Missionary Minister on probation. Hobbs 
stood in the like position until the Conference of 1824. White 
and Turner were ordained Ministers ; the former, as senior of 
the two, became the official head of the Mission. On Mrs. 
Turner, who had an infant child to nurse, domestic oversight 
devolved, with the direction of the work amongst the Native 
women so vigorously commenced by Mrs. Leigh. The family 
consisted of eight souls — beside the four Missionaries, Mrs. 
Turner, and Luke Wade, the man of all work, there was Betsy, 
the Turners' English maid from Sydney. Some half-dozen 
Native young people, of both sexes, lived in the establishment, 
receiving regular teaching and helping in domestic service as 
they were able. Amongst these were chiefs' children, who 
became in several instances much attached to the Mission. 

An exemplary order of life was maintained, in which great 
importance was attached to the morning and evening family 
prayer. To this daily worship the Natives near were admitted, 
as freely as circumstances allowed ; they commonly behaved 
with decorum, but took the opportunity now and then for their 
tricks of purloining. All Methodist ordinances were faithfully 
observed by the ' Church in the house.' 1 Sunday preachings 
were held, in which the use of Maori was gradually extended 
A number of little schools were set up in the neighbourhood, 
Stack's knowledge of the vernacular being serviceable in this 
department. It was not difficult to gather children — a genuine 
respect was felt for the knowledge and skill of the Pakeha — but 
to secure regularity in attendance or order in behaviour was 
next to impossible, parental control being a thing unknown in 
Maori families. On June 13, 1824, a year after the coming of 
the Mission, two school-chapels were dedicated to the worship 
of God, built mainly by the Missionaries' hands. They were 
situated at the two principal villages, where Te Ara and Te 
Puhi lived. These were the mother Wesleyan churches of New 

On the elders the spiritual impression produced during 

1 Turner writes : ' We could only keep our own souls alive by regular and sincere 
attention to the English services amongst ourselves. Generally our most soul-stirring 
services were our Class-meetings on Saturday nights. Oh, what seasons of humiliation, 
gratitude, love, and prayer were these ! ' 


the three years and a half of hard toil at Whangaroa was, 
to all appearance, slight and uncertain. The Mission had 
struck upon one of the worst patches of Maori life in all New 
Zealand. The experience of the Leighs continued for their 
successors ; it was even aggravated by Leigh's departure, 
since less reverence was felt for the new-comers, and the 
special regard of the dreaded chief Hongi for the older 
Missionary had acted as a restraint in his favour. The 
Mission house lived in recurrent alarms ; at times, for days 
together, its inmates were ' almost stunned ' by the riot and 
wild licence around them. More than once they were openly 
threatened with the fate of the crew of the Boyd, whose 
destruction the perpetrators remembered with pride rather than 
shame. A chief was overheard confessing that the Whangaroa 
people had tried all they knew to terrify the Missionaries, 
but had failed ! 

Two incidents taken from Turner's diary illustrate the pro- 
longed martyrdom which he and his companions endured. One 
day Te Ara came to bring certain provisions, for which he had 
been prepaid, to the Mission house. He demanded further 
payment, and Turner, with some demur, gave him an iron 
pot he asked for. Upon this the savage, catching sight of 
an axe and a frying-pan within his reach, seized them as a 
better bargain, while he dashed the pot in pieces. Furious 
at the Missionary's remonstrances, he levelled twice at him 
his loaded musket ; then, dropping it, pushed him down the 
bank on which they stood, crying : ' You want to make the 
Maoris slaves ! We want muskets and powder and tomahawks ; 
but you give us nothing but karakia [prayers] ! ' This said, 
he rushed into the house, threatening the life of Mrs. Turner 
and her maid, till the latter ran out screaming. The shaken 
Missionary picked himself up and followed Te Ara within doors, 
half expecting to find his wife murdered. But she stood 
boldly facing the raging barbarian, • and in a few moments the 
tempest dropped. Te Ara laid his hand upon his heart and 
bowed, with the apology : 

When my heart rests here I love Mr. Turner very much ; but when 
my heart rises to my throat I could kill him in a moment ! 

1 This lady, like her predecessor Mrs. Leigh, was a missionary heroine. ' She 
bore her trials,' writes her husband, ' with uncommon heroism, and held up my hands 
when they were ready to hang down. Her exalted piety and praying faith were a 
great help to the whole missionary party.' 


By the beginning of 1825 it was evident that, while a few of 
the people had become steady friends of the Mission and were 
attentive to the preaching and the Missionaries' talk, the 
bulk of them were hardened and reckless in hostility. 

A plundering raid was made on the Station on March 5, in 
which a couple of chiefs took part, when the Missionaries, in 
trying to protect their property, were roughly handled. White 
escaped with a few cuts and bruises ; Turner was felled to the 
ground and taken up for dead — the shock disabled him for 
several days. But for the interposition of a friendly chief, 
both of them might have been killed and the Mission premises 
looted and stripped. Again Mrs. Turner barred the door and 
held it against the mob. In the previous year the removal 
from the old shanty set up for Leigh to the more substantial 
domicile built by his successors had proved an operation of 
the greatest difficulty. The neighbours found flitting a fine 
opportunity to harry the family, who were mulcted in a con- 
siderable part of their goods. On this occasion, fortunately, 
the brother-chiefs fell out, and Te Ara frustrated the larceny 
attempted by Te Puhi. 

Somewhat earlier than this date a tragedy was narrowly 
averted which might have eclipsed even the Boyd massacre. 
The London Missionary Society had chartered the ship 
Endeavour to convey a party round the islands, which included 
the Rev. Daniel Tyerman and Mr. Bennett, the official deputa- 
tion from London inspecting the South Sea Missions. The 
vessel put into Whangaroa Bay under stress of weather on the 
way to the Bay of Islands. Several of the party went up the 
river in the ship's boat to visit Wesleydale. Meanwhile the 
Natives swarmed round the ship in their canoes, and clambered 
up her sides unhindered. Pilfering being observed, orders 
were given to clear the deck. In the scuffle some of the 
Maoris fell overboard ; the rest, incensed, took up the nearest 
weapons to hand and laid about them, raising hideous war- 
cries. The passengers and crew were far too scattered and 
too few for effectual resistance, and a speedy death seemed to 
await them. Some of the monsters, as they brandished club 
or axe over the victims' heads, felt their bodies with a gloating 
look, as if anticipating the feast to follow ! l At this moment, 

1 The L.M.S. missionary Threlkeld was on board with his little boy by his side, 
who looked up and said : ' Father, does it hurt to bo eaten ? ' 


and before a fatal blow had been struck, the Mission boat hove 
in sight, diverting the attention of the murderers. William 
White had hurried to the spot, accompanied by Te Ara ; and 
the two succeeded in quelling the anger of the Natives and 
saving the precious lives at stake. 

The Missionaries were less successful in the next encounter 
of the kind. A whaling-brig, named the Mercury, put in to 
Whangaroa, as it happened, on the day after the plundering 
of the Mission house in March, 1825. Fearing an attempt 
upon her, White and Stack went off in their boat to give warn- 
ing and help. Te Puhi this time was their companion. It 
was Sunday ; but they found the crew engaged in barter with 
the Natives, who had crowded round the vessel. Te Puhi was 
indignant ! ' Know you this tribe ? ' he said to the Mis- 
sionaries, pointing to the busy traffickers. ' No/ they 
answered. ' Is this their sacred day ? ' was the next question ; 
' I know it is yours.' ' They acknowledge it to be so,' was the 
reply. He exclaimed thereupon : ' See how they trade ! An 
evil people is this tribe.' He would not raise a finger on their 
behalf. Mischief was evidently brewing, and the Missionaries 
advised the captain to slip out at nightfall with the ebb-tide, 
as soon as the people had returned to the shore, as they might 
attack on the following day. They then rowed back, leaving 
the chief behind ; but to their consternation they saw the 
anchor lifted and the sails unfurled, while the sailors tried to 
drive the Natives over the bulwarks. It was a fatal mistake. 
A general melee ensued. Amongst the Maoris thrown into 
the water was Te Puhi's son, who was nearly drowned. 
Absorbed in the fighting, the crew let the vessel drift on the 
shore, whither she was borne by a sudden change of wind. 
New Zealand custom made her now a lawful prey. With 
astonishing celerity the crew were overpowered, the ship dis- 
mantled, and her cargo broken up. The captain and his men, 
terrified, took to their boats, making off for the Bay of Islands, 
and were soon out of reach. All this had happened before 
White and Stack could get back to the luckless Mercury. They 
induced Te Puhi to order the plunderers off now that the 
mischief was done, and left the wreck in charge of a friendly 
chief in whom they had confidence ; but by the morning the 
hold and cabins were completely rifled. 

The trouble of the Missionaries over this sad business was 


not yet ended. Next day, picking up three of the sailors who 
had escaped to shore, White and Stack got the brig afloat, 
intending to take her round themselves to the Bay of Islands. 
But sails and tackle were slashed and broken ; sextant and 
compass were lost ; the hands were too few to work the vessel, 
had she been in order ; finally the wind turned against the 
navigators, before they could clear the Heads. Completely 
baffled, they took to the boat when twenty miles from home. 
Compelled to land on the way, they found themselves amongst 
a villainous set of Natives, who stripped them of everything 
but the clothes they wore. The five reached Wesleydale at 
last, utterly spent and in miserable plight. ' Whangaroa 
went mad ' over its exploit. The marauders sailed up the 
river with shouts of gleeful triumph. They landed dressed 
up fantastically in European garments and dripping with 
whale-oil, while they brandished harpoons or marline-spikes as 
trophies ; so arrayed, they executed a war-dance in front of the 
Mission house, making the hills echo with their beast-like yells. 

The principal chief, Te Ara, who had promised there should 
be no repetition of the Boyd outrage and had stopped the 
attack on the Endeavour, though he was not present at the 
capture of the Mercury, entered with zest into this celebration. 
By this time, however, he had fallen dangerously ill. Report 
said that he had given directions for the exacting of utu (satis- 
faction) from the Missionaries in case of his death for the loss 
of his father, who had been killed at the taking of the Boyd. l 
Te Ara's brothers intimated as much to the Missionaries, and 
there was small hope of his recovery. 

It was plain that matters were coming to a crisis at Whan- 
garoa. The Bay of Island Missionaries, who had reliable 
means of information, were thoroughly alarmed. From the 
beginning they regarded their Methodist fellow workers as 
one with themselves. Their lines had fallen in comparatively 
pleasant places, and they were always ready to counsel and 
help their brethren at the post of danger. Two of these good 
friends came over to Wesleydale, and arranged for the removal 
of Mrs. Turner and the children, with their maid, to the Bay 

1 The father of Te Puhi and Te Ara lost his life through the explosion of gun- 
powder caused by the carelessness of the Natives in plundering the ship. The acci- 
dent was, however, imputed to the Europeans, and atonement was due from their 
tribe ! The exaction of utu the Maoris regarded as a sacred obligation incumbent 
on the kindred of the chief. The story reminds one of David's dying charge respecting 
Joab and Shimei. 


of Islands. They advised the retirement of the whole Mission, 
but to this the men on the spot could not bring their minds. 
The situation was complicated by the probability that punish- 
ment would before long be inflicted by some European force 
for the destruction of the Mercury, in which event Wesleydale 
would be bound to suffer. Hongi, too, was fulminating against 
Whangaroa. He was engaged just then in a difficult campaign 
elsewhere, but meant, as soon as his hands were free, to deal 
with the pirates of that harbour. He gave it out that he had 
no grudge against the Mission, and was preparing a fine canoe 
on purpose to remove its staff in safety when he laid waste the 
neighbouring country. It was urged also that the Bay of 
Islands Mission would be involved in the consequences of a 
massacre happening in Wesleydale. Turner sets forth these 
considerations in a memorandum sent to the Mission House 
in London. He concludes : 

Though our judgement approved of the measure recommended [by 
the Anglican Missionaries], our feelings have not suffered us to take any 
step towards carrying it into execution. We think it would be best for 
us to continue at our post for the present, and quietly wait for the 
salvation of God. 

The Turner family were lodged at Keri Keri, an outlying 
station of the Church Mission, distant twenty-three miles from 
Wesleydale, within a day's walk. 

For the present the storm blew over. Te Ara died on 
April 17 ; though in other respects impenitent, he commended 
the Missionaries to the kindness of his people. Some of the 
chiefs advised an attack on Wesleydale ; Te Puhi prevented 
this. 1 Maori public opinion condemned the action of the 
Whangaroa people in the case of the Mercury, and Hongi was 
believed to be intending a condign punishment. Te Puhi 
needed all the friends he could muster, and besought the 
mediation of the Missionaries. The temper of Whangaroa 
was much subdued. After a while it was judged safe for the 
missionary' women and children to return from Keri Keri. 
They were brought back toward the end of June, when the 
outlook at Wesleydale was brighter than for some time past. 
When William White a little later made his visit home, *■ leaving 

1 A fine duck was seized from the Mission premises, and execution visited upon 
it. This was taken as a formal expiation, a fulfilment of the utu vowed by Te Ara. 

* This was meant to be a short excursion to New South Wales, but White took 
the occasion to run off to England. 


the care of the work to Nathaniel Turner, he supposed the 
danger to be over, and gave a highly encouraging account of 
the situation to the Mission House in London. 

On July 23, Hongi, suddenly appearing, landed near Wesley- 
dale at the head of a picked band of warriors. His intentions 
were unknown, and Te Puhi's fighting-men entrenched them- 
selves in their pah (fortress), provisioned for a siege. Hongi, 
with his second in command, invited himself to the Mission 
house. His men committed many acts of war in the valley, 
but the great chief showed himself in a placable mood, and 
was brought to a friendly interview with Te Puhi, from which 
peace resulted. This issue enhanced the influence of the 
Mission, and the rest of the year passed in comparative quiet. 
The death of Te Ara had removed a source of danger ; he had 
been, beyond doubt, the instigator of many of the tricks 
formerly played on the Missionaries. For some months they 
carried on their work with little opposition, while progress in 
the language added to their efficiency. About this time the 
first ascertained adult Maori conversion was reported from 
the Bay of Islands, giving joy and encouragement to both the 
Missions. Several buildings of importance to the Wesleydale 
work were completed, after much previous delay ; the schools 
were re-organized, and increasing attention was given to the 
children and young people, amongst whom signs were dis- 
cerned that promised much for the future. Good natural 
susceptibilities and remarkable powers of apprehension mani- 
fested themselves in the Maori constitution ; the Missionaries 
were confident of a rich harvest for their painful sowing. 

In secular as well as spiritual matters prosperity appeared 
to be dawning. A great breadth of corn was sown in the winter 
of 1825 (our summer) by the Mission staff, both on their own 
and on Maori plots of ground. This yielded a plentiful crop, ' 
which was reaped peacefully, with no small congratulation 
on the part of the Natives, in the following January. About 
this date the Mission household had to turn their ingenuity 
to fresh account in extracting salt, of which their supply had 
failed, from the sea-water. This task occupied them for three 
days — a specimen of the many ' cares of this life ' incumbent 
upon pioneer Missionaries remote from the conveniences of 
civilization. A dark shadow fell on the Turner family at the 

1 The Mission was thus secured against the scarcity which it had suffered in 1825. 


year's end, in the loss of their infant boy — the first death 
occurring in the Methodist Mission to New Zealand. 

As the year 1826 advanced the horizon darkened once more. 
Unrest and turbulence revived amongst the tribes surrounding 
Wesleydale. The stroke of chastisement for the seizure of 
the Mercury anticipated from British hands had not fallen, 
but the terrible Hongi was known to be still angry with 
Whangaroa. In the visit of the previous year, it would seem, 
he had dissembled and delayed his vengeance. It was this 
able chief's settled policy to avoid friction with Europeans, 
while he carried out his plans of conquest in New Zealand. He 
was competent to measure British power, as few of his fellow 
countrymen could. His own power rested on the supply of 
arms obtained from that quarter ; and such acts of plunder 
as those repeatedly committed in Whangaroa harbour, which 
ranked amongst the best in the islands and the most accessible 
to foreign vessels, tended to stop the commerce upon which 
he built and to cut the nerve of his strength. He was deter- 
mined, therefore, to root out this gang of wreckers, making 
an example of them to all New Zealand. 

After various rumours to this, effect, in spring (our autumn) 
the following message came from Hongi, who, when it suited 
him, could be the most outspoken of diplomats : 

Fly, all of you, to another place ! If I see one of your faces, O Ngate 
Uru (the name of the Wesleydale tribe), I will kill you and devour you 
utterly ! 

Te Puhi was frantic with alarm ; his people put themselves in 
an attitude of defence. In a few days a hostile force sailed 
into the harbour, which ravaged the valley, not sparing the 
Mission property. But this regiment was not strong enough 
to drive out the Ngate, who had retired to their pah. Shortly 
the hostile parties came to terms, and the invaders withdrew. 
No personal injury was done to the Mission staff. It was 
hoped the 'danger was past. The three Missionaries resumed 
their work, and at the end of the year opened a more advanced 
school, from which they had high expectations. 

But the affair of October was a preliminary skirmish. On 
January 4 Hongi himself arrived in command of a large war- 
fleet, bent on making an end of the Ngate tribe. He sent a 
message to Wesleydale saying that he meant no harm to the 


Missionaries, but the Natives with them must come into his 
camp. This they did. The fort was then attacked and carried 
by assault, after several repulses and considerable loss. A 
number of the local chiefs fled to Hokianga, on the western 
coast, forty miles distant ; few of the people escaped. The 
Whangaroa tribes were wiped out of existence. The blow had 
been prepared so secretly, and was delivered so suddenly, that 
the Mission people had received no warning from their friends 
at the Bay of Islands. Only on the evening before their 
exodus they sent thither a message for help, hoping up to that 
time that their dwelling would be spared. 

At dawn on January 10 the day of destruction came for 
Wesleydale. A detachment of Hongi's men marched up to the 
Mission house fully armed. The Missionaries met them at the 
gate, and asked their business ; the commander replied : 
' Your chiefs have fled ; all the people have left the place ; 
and you will be stripped of your property before noon. There- 
fore instantly begone ! ' Giving a signal to others, who rushed 
in to share the booty, the soldiers attacked the outhouses, 
proceeding to empty and demolish them. Further words 
were useless and resistance impossible. Not a moment was 
to be lost. A hasty ' passover ' meal was snatched, and such 
necessaries were gathered and made into bundles as could be 
carried on foot. In sorrowful silence the exiles set out on 
their march of more than twenty rough miles to the nearest 
refuge, with streams to ford and woods to traverse, not knowing 
what marauders invested the way. They were under Hongi's 
ban, and who would dare to protect them ? The axes of 
the destroyers were already at work on the Mission house, and 
exit was quickened by a ferocious blow aimed at Mrs. Turner, 
who narrowly escaped the weapon as she passed through the 

Our company [writes her husband] comprised myself, Mrs. Turner, 
and three children, the youngest an infant five weeks and two days 
old 1 ; Luke Wade and his wife, who had not long arrived from England ; 
Mr. Hobbs ; and Miss Da vies, from Paihia. 2 The morning was foggy, 
and heavy dew lay upon the ground. 

1 The babe carried in his father's arms from burning Wesleydale grew up to be 
the Hon. J. S. Turner, a distinguished member of the Queensland Legislature. 

1 This lady was on a visit from the Bay of Islands, so little was the catastrophe 
apprehended at that time. Betsy, the Turners' maid, appears to have left them before 
this date ; Miss Davies, it would seem, had been acting as friend to the Missionary's 
wife during her confinement. 



The fog turned to a soaking rain. Four Native boys and 
two girls, belonging to the school, threw in their lot with the 
exiles ; their assistance was a god-send. 

A few miles out of Wesleydale the party fell in with two 
hundred Maori warriors on their way to Whangaroa. Presum- 
ably these were a company of Hongi's forces. Neither flight nor 
concealment was possible ; every one looked for death. At 
the word of command all knelt down, awaiting the fatal blow. 
To their astonishment the leaders, instead of lifting spear or 
hatchet to strike, held back their men, and stooped to rub 
noses with the Missionaries ! The troop was under the com- 
mand of Patuone, chief of Hokianga and an ally of Hongi's, 
but a friend of the Pakeha. He expressed his commiseration, 
and offered to reinstate the fugitives at Wesleydale if they 
would return. On their declining, he turned aside to escort 
them toward Keri Keri in full force. So they proceeded in 
safety, with a hundred well-armed Maoris on each side, until, 
six miles farther on, Stack and the advance-guard of the relief - 
party from the Church Mission appeared. Here a halt was 
made, until means of conveyance were brought up for the 
weaker members of the company, by this time exhausted. At 
sundown the travellers reached their goal, after this day of 
calamity and terror. 

So ended the first Methodist Mission to New Zealand : ' one 
of the most noble, best-sustained, and protracted struggles to 
graft Christianity upon a nation, savage and ferocious, which 
the history of the Church of Christ supplies.' Now destitute, 
the Wesleydale missionary company, by the help of their 
never-failing friends at the Bay of Islands, embarked for 
Sydney at the end of January. Even then their dangers were 
not over ; they had for fellow passengers several score of ex- 
convicts turned pirates, who had been captured on the New 
Zealand coast and were being conveyed in chains to New South 
Wales. These desperate criminals formed a plot to seize the 
ship, and nearly succeeded. False reports of the Whangaroa 
troubles reached the colony, on the ground of which the Mis- 
sionaries were accused of deserting their post. The charge 
was taken so seriously that it became matter of official investiga- 
tion, resulting in a complete exoneration of the accused. 1 In 

1 So prevalent was this calumny that it even appears, reinforced with disparaging 
suggestions, in Saunders' History of New Zealand, Vol. I., pp. 90, 91. The only 


point of fact, they had clung to Wesleydale to the last moment, 
and only retreated when work and life upon this ground were 
no longer possible. When the Mission buildings had been 
sacked, they were put to the flames ; the live-stock and the 
store of corn, which the savages had not the sense to carry 
away, were consumed in the conflagration. Nothing remained 
except the brick chimney which Mr. Leigh had built, after 
making the bricks, with his own hands. This stood for many 
years as the monument of Wesleydale ! For some time the 
Anglicans feared a similar fate for their establishment at the 
Bay of Islands, and shipped their valuables to Sydney in the 
vessel which carried the Wesleyan Missionaries. Marsden 
came across in alarm (his fourth New Zealand voyage), con- 
veyed on a sloop of war, to look after his protegees. He sailed 
round to Whangaroa harbour and Wesleydale, which he found 
deserted and bare. Nothing could be recovered of the scattered 
spoil or discovered amongst the ruins save a couple of books. 
The missionary library had been turned into cartridge-paper 
for Hongi's musketeers ! 

Doom swiftly overtook Hongi. Pursuing the flying 
Nga-te-po, he was struck by a chance bullet which pierced his 
breast. For some months he lingered in suffering and weak- 
ness, but his wound was fatal. With his death his dominion 
fell to pieces. Hongi is said to have disclaimed the attack on 
Wesleydale, which took place during his pursuit of the Whan- 
garoans ; and Dr. William Morley, in his History of Methodism 
in New Zealand, states his opinion that the deed was perpetrated 
without his consent. It is difficult to accept the alleged 
disclaimer, and most unlikely that any such thing would have 
been done against Hongi's known wishes. So far as the 
evidence goes, Hongi showed no sign of friendliness toward 
the Missionaries at this time, and took no steps for their pro- 
tection. He was at least willing to see them driven away. 
What he said to Samuel Leigh at the outset in barring his 
proposal to settle at Mercury Bay, to the effect that the. 
destruction of the people there residing, on which he was bent, 

documentary evidence for his judgement to which Saunders refers is the memorandum 
sent to the London Mission House in March, 1825, at the time of alarm when Mrs. 
Turner and her children were removed to the Bay of Islands. In this statement 
Turner reports the reasons for withdrawal from Whangaroa then urged by his friends 
at the Bay of Islands, but which he and his colleagues set aside. Saunders speaks ' of 
the timid Mrs. Turner and the delicate Mrs. Leigh ' ! Timidity was the very last 
fault to be imputed to Mrs. Turner. Of all the party she was the most intrepid. 


would supersede the Mission, applied now to Whangaroa. 
Had Wesleydale stood, it might have formed a nucleus for 
the reconstitution of the broken tribes. On the day that 
Wesleydale fell Hongi received his death-blow, and the career 
of this Napoleon of the Maoris was ended. The coincidence 
bore the appearance of a nemesis, and was naturally so 



The new Station — Mangungu — Mission Schools — The first Baptism 
— Two great Missionaries — Literary Work — Reinforcements — School 
Festivals — The Wives of Missionaries — The Comity of Missions — The 
first Martyrs of New Zealand — James Buller — The Mission house 
destroyed — John Waterhouse, General Superintendent — Five Recruits 
followed by six more — Richard Day — A Division of the Districts — 
Colonization — Ecclesiastical Strife. 

The tragedy of Wesleydale was not enacted in vain. For the 
Missionaries who escaped it had been a schooling which pre- 
pared them for renewed effort. Amongst the handful of 
scholars they carried off from the scene of devastation several 
proved useful helpers and faithful witnesses to the truth which 
had redeemed them ; in subsequent years Natives were 
occasionally found in other districts who had escaped the 
massacre at Whangaroa, bearing vital seeds sown in their 
hearts during the evil times of missionary labour there. The 
death of Hongi in March, 1828 * — a fitting judgement upon a 
career of crafty and bloodstained ambition — chastened the 
Maori temper. The tribes of the north, harried and decimated 
through the conflicts he had stirred up, were now tired of war, 
and ready to listen to the messengers of peace. The sight of 
the gentle patience of the Missionaries under numberless 
injuries, and of the happier mode of life which sprang up 
around them, the experience of their unwearied kindness, the 
remembrance of their expostulations with Hongi and their 
warnings against his evil courses — these and similar influences 

1 Patuone, who appears to have been a favourite with the chief paramount, 
witnessed his death at Whangaroa, and reported his last words as follows : ' O my 
children ! O my relatives ! to the praying foreigners [Missionaries] be lind and 
affectionate. O my children ! O my relatives ! these are the people who have been 
kind to me. But should our countrymen come to fight against you from any quarter 
when I am gone, do not give way to fear. My children and friends, be brave ! be 
brave ! ' This man had the power to win sincere affection. 



co-operated to bring about a reaction in favour of Christianity. 
The ' hour of the power of darkness ' Christ's servants had 
passed through prepared the dawn of a brighter day. From 
the year 1827 onwards both the Anglican and Wesley an 
Missions made headway, advancing first slowly and then with 
rapid strides. 

The Society at home was distressed but not daunted by the 
failure at Wesleydale. The Committee in Hatton Garden, 
on receiving news of the disaster, passed a resolution directing 
that the New Zealand Mission should be resumed as quickly 
as practicable in some more favourable location, and sent 
instructions to Sydney to that effect. Meantime an invita- 
tion came from Patuone, the Hokianga chief who had befriended 
the fugitives of Wesleydale in their flight, inviting them to 
settle amongst his people, and promising them goodwill and 
protection. Patuone exercised a wide influence on the western 
side of the island ; the Hokianga Bay and river are well situated 
and healthy, and had a considerable Maori population. The 
sphere was suitable ; now that Hongi had disappeared more 
settled conditions for Native life seemed to be in prospect ; 
the Church Missionaries advised the acceptance of Patuone's 
overtures. James Stack, sent across from Sydney in July to 
examine the situation, returned with a favourable report, and 
it was resolved to recommence the work in this new station 
without delay. The proposal of the Hokianga chief was 
seconded by an English firm which was opening up a timber 
trade with New Zealand, and had planted itself on the Hokianga 
estuary. The proximity of Europeans was often dreaded 
rather than desired by Missionaries ; but the managers of the 
business in question were friends of the Mission, and sought 
this association for the sake of their employes. They pro- 
mised two things on behalf of their servants — the observance 
of the Day of Rest, and the refraining from traffic with the 
Natives in strong drink — stipulations that were faithfully 
observed. The Mission found helpers amongst the agents of 
this company. 

The Turners were ready and eager to resume work on New 
Zealand. Mrs. Turner's health had been much shaken by the 
exit from Wesleydale, but she was now recovering. At that 
moment news arrived of trouble in Tonga, so grave that the 
New South Wales brethren insisted on Nathaniel Turner's 


going to the rescue of the Mission there. 1 Much against his 
wishes he complied, and his course was thus diverted. He 
and his wife joined the party for the Friendly Islands, which 
sailed soon afterwards, taking with them one of the Maori 
youths from Whangaroa. 

The leadership of the Hokianga Mission thus devolved upon 
John Hobbs, who sailed from Sydney toward the end of 
September, 1827, with his newly married wife, fresh from 
England, and his colleague, James Stack. They were re- 
ceived with the kindness they expected, but the district was 
entirely barbarian and uncultivated ; everything in the shape 
of home and civilized existence had to be created. The 
mistake of Wesleydale was at first repeated — a tempting site 
near Patuone's whare* was chosen for the Mission station, 
which was found to be within the sweep of the river-floods. 
The second choice was in every way fortunate. Mangungu, 
five miles lower down the river on the south bank, and 
twenty-two miles from the mouth of the fiord, is a commanding 
site, accessible from all directions both by land and water. 
There was safe moorage for vessels of 500 tons burden within 
a hundred yards of the spot marked out for the Mission house. 
The soil was good in quality, and timber for building abounded 
on the estate. Eight hundred and fifty acres of land were bought 
here from relatives of the chief at a liberal price, and the 
operations of clearing and levelling the ground commenced at 
once. As at Wesleydale, the Natives would scarcely work 
for any payment except in munitions ; and the Missionaries 
would have been at a standstill but for the Wesleydale lads, 
five of whom rejoined them, offering their services in return 
for maintenance and instruction. On January 19, 1828, the 
erection of the first house built of wood was commenced 
at Mangungu. With patient labour and inventiveness, guided 
by Wesleydale experience, the necessary premises were raised. 

1 William Cross, also designated by the Missionary Committee for New Zealand, 
had arrived from England. The Sydney Synod laid hands on him, along with Turner, 
to meet the emergency in the Friendly Islands. In his case the diversion proved 
permanent. This action of New South Wales was ultra vires, and was in the first 
instance severely censured by the Mission house ; but it saved the Tonga Mission, 
and the offence was in the end condoned. It reduced the New Zealand staff from 
four to two. The courage of Hobbs and Stack in going forward under these circum- 
stances deserves high praise. Until the Conference of 1828 they were both but 
Ministers on probation under Turner's nominal superintendence. Until 1830, when 
White arrived at Hokianga, Turner was officially Chairman of the New Zealand 
District,' residing at ' Tongatabu ' ! 

1 The name for a Native dwelling, constructed of raupo (rushes) woven into a 
wooden framework. 


The felling of trees and sawing of timber, the fencing and 
plotting out of the ground, the making and laying of bricks, 
the carpentry and smith's work, the digging and planting 
of the garden, whose produce was urgently required — all 
these industries were carried on by the eight pairs of hands 
available, the two Missionaries being their own architects and 
clerks of the work. Till their home was ready the labourers, 
including Mrs. Hobbs, lodged in a rough Native hut partitioned 
into rooms. The Maori neighbours looked on, wondering and 
learning much, but showing as yet scant sympathy. Meanwhile 
Hobbs and Stack, already conversant with the language, had 
much to say to the spectators, and the Whangaroa boys put 
in their word. The children gathered round these youths, 
and were induced to share in their lessons, so that a sort of 
school was gathered before it could be housed. 

The building operations at Mangungu were carried through 
without mishap. This safety, and the freedom of the mission- 
ary people from the thefts and insults endured at Wesley dale, 
were due to the steady friendship of Patuone, who even as a 
pagan exhibited something of ' the law written in the heart,' 1 
though his people bore a reputation at that time little better 
than that of the Whangaroans. 

The first English ship (the Macquarie) which entered the 
Hokianga inlet, not long before this time, narrowly escaped 
destruction. The Natives clambered on board, making 
demonstrations of friendliness, but with their plans laid for 
the massacre of the crew. Amongst them came the daughter 
of Wainga, their crafty priest-chief, who was touched with 
love for the ship's mate and disclosed to him the plot. Wainga's 
design was foiled, and the villain was seized and detained on 
the ship. His life being spared, he consented to terms of 
peace and commerce with the voyagers, which were sealed 
by the marriage of Martin, the mate, to his daughter. This 
treaty was honourably kept, and laid the foundations of 
intercourse with English traders at Hokianga. The Maoris 
appear to have appreciated the romance of the occurrence. 
It is pleasant to add that the marriage alliance proved happy. 

1 Patuone some years afterwards migrated to the Thames River District. Here 
he was baptized by the name of Edward Marsh, and lived to a goodly age, an exemplary 
Christian man, honourably known as ' the Peacemaker.' Tamate Waka Nene, 
Patuone's abler brother, remained at Hokianga. These two by express arrangement 
were baptized into the Anglican and Methodist Churches respectively in token of 
their unity. ' Would that these friendly relations had continued ' ! (Mosley). 


Mr. Martin settled as a pilot on the coast, where he was much 
respected. Mrs. Martin in course of time became a Christian, 
and entered worthily into her husband's life. 

Great alarms attended the death of Hongi in the spring of 
1828. Hostilities, in which Patuone was compelled to engage, 
broke out between the Hokianga and Bay of Islands Maoris, 
endangering the Missions at both places. Through the de- 
termined efforts of the Church Missionaries, however, the 
quarrel was settled, although blood had already been shed. 
The Wesleyan Missionary Report states that 

no general movement took place amongst the Natives such as was 
expected on Hongi's death. The battle of Hunhuna, in which he fell, 
proved to be the Waterloo of New Zealand, and led to a better under- 
standing amongst the turbulent chiefs that governed the country, and 
a more general and lasting tranquillity. 

The state of the country was more favourable to the progress 
of the Gospel than at any time since, fourteen years ago, its 
messengers set foot on the islands. Their character was 
known ; their persons and property were now generally re- 
spected, so that they could move with freedom in the country, 
and were able to set up schools and gather congregations over 
a considerable area. The report of the events about Whangaroa 
and the Bay of Islands had travelled far. Writing to England 
a little later from New South Wales, Samuel Leigh says : 

Several captains who have lately visited the more distant parts of 
New Zealand declare that the labours of the Missionaries have spread 
far and wide in that country ; the prayers they have taught the people 
have been transmitted from tribe to tribe, until they have become well 
known by Natives hundreds of miles from the Mission station. They 
tell me that the one desire of the chiefs at the ports they have visited 
is to have Missionaries. The chiefs have offered to give those captains 
any quantity of pigs, potatoes, or flax for a Missionary who can teach 
them the way to the God and heaven of the White man. 

It would be easy to exaggerate the importance of symptoms 
of this kind, but undoubtedly they existed, and betokened 
the diffusion of a new atmosphere in Maori life. 

The flocking of young people to the schools was the most 
encouraging sign of the early days at Hokianga. Christian 
preaching was listened to with attention, especially at the 


Native funerals, occasions of great demonstration. It ap- 
peared to be generally welcome, and to set the people thinking ; 
but heathen ideas were in strong prepossession. Outspoken 
and fond of debate, the Maoris would challenge the Preacher, 
demanding reasons for the faith he required. When, for 
example, a Missionary held forth one Sunday, a few months 
after preaching began at Hokianga, on the story of Dives and 
Lazarus, expounding the Christian doctrine of the future state, 
a chief who was present broke in thus : 

We want evidence. When a spirit comes from the invisible world 
and tells us that he has seen the things of which you speak we will 
believe him. All the accounts we have received hitherto have been 
directly opposed to yours. Tell us plainly, are there no places to 
besiege in the other world ? No people to fight with ? And no guns ? 
Have you yourself seen any persons who have been raised from the 
dead ? 

Being answered in the negative, he laughed heartily, observ- 
ing : ' Oh, indeed ! Then you only heard it from someone 
else ! You nga Pakeha are no better than old women ! ' The 
sceptic had the laugh of the crowd on his side. The Mission- 
aries welcomed interruptions like this, which showed that the 
popular mind was aroused and disclosed its movements. 

The first Maori baptism at Mangungu was that of a young 
man named Hika, nearly related to the former chiefs, Te Ara 
and Te Puhi, of Whangaroa. Taken as a boy into the 
Wesleydale household by Mr. Leigh, he attached himself to 
the missionary family, and accompanied the Turners to New 
South Wales. Returning to his country with the Hokianga 
party, he was of the greatest service to them in their first 
difficulties. His rank gave him influence with the Natives ; 
at the same time he took his share in the labour of setting 
up the new establishment. He soon learned ' the fear of the 
Lord ' which ' is the beginning of wisdom,' and developed 
under instruction a thoughtfulness, integrity, and modesty 
new to his race. His diffidence seems to have been the main 
reason why his baptism was delayed. In the boarding school, 
containing above thirty Maori boys and girls, which the 
Hobbses had opened as soon as their premises were sufficiently 
commodious, his example was of peculiar benefit. A delicate 
youth, Hika fell ill toward the end of 1830 ; at this time he 


was led through deep contrition for sin to a joyful trust in 
Christ. He had been received into the Church but a few days 
when death came. To the boys who waited on him in his 
last hour Hika said : 

Remain where you are [with the Mission]. All your actions are 
observed from above ; turn from your sins. You must also believe in 
God and in Christ. His dwelling is above ; it is far more happy than 
any earthly place. I shall be safely conducted to it ! 

The baptism and Christian burial of this child of the man- 
eating Whangaroans, following the testimony of his life, pro- 
duced a powerful impression in and around Hokianga. About 
the same time came the report of the Christian death in Tonga 
of a second Whangaroa boy, who had gone with Mr. Turner 
to that country ; and of the baptism in Tonga of still another 
companion of Hika, who lived to do good service in his new 

About the end of 1831 the first Maori Class-meeting was 
formed at Mangungu, consisting of five persons. One of these 
was sufficiently advanced in faith and knowledge to be en- 
trusted with the conduct of the school and of public worship in 
the absence of the Missionaries. This date, therefore, marks 
the beginning of a Native agency in the New Zealand Mission, 
eight years after its commencement. Maori conversions 
multiplied throughout the year 1832. Amongst the most 
noteworthy was the case of Chief Hae Hae, whose heart was 
softened in his last illness ; he had been for some time a 
catechumen, and possessed an intellectual grasp of Christianity. 
Now he sought God's pardoning mercy through Christ, and 
a clear apprehension of the divine love was given him. On 
the following Sunday Hae Hae was baptized in the morning, 
and in the evening admitted to the Lord's table. At midnight 
his summons came. Calling his heathen friends to his bedside, 
he said : 

Listen to me, for I am now dying ; perhaps you will remember what 
I say when I am gone. You are all in darkness, and on the way to hell. 
This country is full of misery ; who would live in it always ? You see 
I have no fear ; I am going to Jesus ! Will you meet me in heaven ? I 
am going ! Farewell ! 

Not a few, after such parting scenes, were ' baptized for the 


dead.' The gift of telling speech, widely diffused among the 
Maoris, made them apt for public testimony, and ready to 
fall in with the Methodist practice in that respect. Such a 
facility has, to be sure, its dangers, and these were sometimes 
sadly exemplified. But in numberless instances this endow- 
ment was signally blessed ; it greatly subserved the diffusion 
of the Gospel, when its grace had touched the heart of the 
people. Once rooted and naturalized there, it readily became 
self-propagating. So ' the Word of the Lord ran and was 

It was customary, as is still the case in the Wesleyan Missions, 
to use the forms of the Anglican Prayer-book in public worship, 
which were abridged and adapted in translation with some 
freedom. This usage promoted decorum, and set a standard 
of expression in prayer and adoration of inestimable value, 
the danger of slavish and mechanical repetition being guarded 
against. The stateliness and rhythm of the Liturgy appealed 
to Maori taste. Its sentences fastened themselves on the 
memory like those of Scripture, and became proverbial. From 
Maori lips there would burst forth, on a devout suggestion, 
the cry : ' Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of Sabaoth ! ' or 
sometimes : ' Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory ! ' By 
this means the people were taught how to praise and how to 
pray. The ordinance of the Lord's Day was implicitly 
accepted ; its observance spread even among the heathen. 
Native tribes when fighting would sometimes of their own 
accord agree to a truce on the Sabbath. In the war with the 
English, which broke out twenty years later, nothing surprised 
and disgusted the Maoris so much as to find their Christian 
enemies making no difference between Sunday and week-day, 
sometimes even taking advantage of their Sabbath-keeping ! 
The Wesleyan Catechism, which the Missionaries early took 
care to render into Maori, was much appreciated. The 
children made no difficulty of memorizing its definitions, along 
with such texts and paragraphs of Scripture as could be taught 
them by word of mouth. Within a few years of the commence- 
ment at Mangungu the demand for schools and teachers grew 
quite beyond the power of the handful of Missionaries to supply. 
Appeals came from quarters far and near ; in one instance a 
chief arrived from a distance with a war-canoe strongly manned, 
intending to secure a Missionary for himself by main force ; 


with no little difficulty he was persuaded to forgo his violent 

Until 1830 Hobbs and Stack toiled on alone. About the 
end of that year William White, whom the Conference had 
appointed Superintendent of the Mission, made his appearance. 
He had withdrawn to England in 1825, after spending but 
two years at Wesleydale, and had escaped the calamity which 
overtook his brethren there. When Turner and Cross were 
transferred to the Tonga Mission he was urgently required in 
New Zealand, but found it necessary — for reasons perhaps not 
very satisfactory to his brethren — to remain at home. He was 
senior to the Missionaries on the spot and a man of undoubted 
competence and endurance, and had retained the confidence 
of the Missionary Committee notwithstanding the irregularity 
of his return to England, so he was put in command of the 
Hokianga station. This promotion cannot have been agree- 
able to the men on the ground, who had stood by the Mission 
throughout, and had re-established it on the new ground and 
set it on the road to success. From this, or from other causes, 
friction arose between White and Hobbs, as appears by their 
correspondence with the Mission House. It was not long 
before both Hobbs and Stack quitted Hokianga ; the former 
was transferred to the Friendly Islands, 1 the latter returned 
to England, to resume his New Zealand labours in the service 
of the Church Missionary Society. 

To the sketch of Hobbs' career given on p. 181 other 
features of the man and his work may be added at this stage. 
Endowed with a powerful physique, and a ready, animated 
speaker, he ' at once made a favourable impression on the 
Maoris.' He ' quickly acquired a free and idiomatic use of 
the language,' and could employ Native gesture and illustra- 
tion with a facility most uncommon in a European. He 
became expert in the knowledge of the New Zealand woods 
and waters, and showed himself, to the admiration of the 
Natives, resourceful in the emergencies of travel. He gained 
skill in handling disease and in the use of common medicines 
of peculiar service to the Mission. Beside all this he was 

1 The Tonga and Maori languages are so far alike that it is not difficult for a man 
clever in languages, as Hobbs was, to pass from one to the other. In 1839 he came 
back to his old station. Hobbs is assigned to the Friendly Islands on the Stations 
of 1832 ; he did not actually leave Hokianga until May of the following year, by which 
time Whiteley had arrived. Stack withdrew in 1831. 


something of a musician, and composed Maori hymns that are 
still sung in the islands. His gentleness and courtesy, com- 
bined with firm strength, conduced greatly to his influence. 
He taught his wild people reverence, so that their worship was 
seemly and impressive to a wonderful degree. John Hobbs 
put his stamp on infant Maori Methodism more than did any 
other single man. He held the respect of the Whites who 
began to settle at Hokianga in his time, while he was beloved 
by the Native folk, and formed a link of peace between them. 
His wife had her share in all that he achieved ; their house was 
a place of pleasant resort, and the family life an object-lesson 
to the Maoris. Stack, who worked by Hobbs' side for eight 
years, was modest, ingenious, reliable, indefatigable — one of 
those little men to whom bigger men sometimes owe half their 
success. He had not the commanding powers of his col- 
leagues ; but Leigh, Turner, and Hobbs alike loved him, and 
proved him a serviceable lieutenant and a cheering companion. 
The debt of New Zealand Methodism to James Stack is not to 
be forgotten. 

The removal of these two men was a crisis for the Mission. 
Their work, however, had gathered momentum, so that it 
went forward under other hands, and they found worthy 
successors. William White, who was not wanting in resource 
or self-reliance, was joined on the departure of Hobbs and 
Stack by John Whiteley, sent out from England. The new- 
comer proved a first-rate Missionary — a great lover of the 
Maoris, devoting his whole life to their salvation. Without 
the versatility of Hobbs, he had similar linguistic gifts applied 
with a peculiar steadiness and tenacity of purpose, and 
uncommon powers of endurance ; his understanding was sound 
and solid, his faculty of administration superior. Through 
thirty-six years of uninterrupted labour Whiteley's influence 
grew amongst the Native tribes, till it came to be unrivalled. 
The British Government learned to value his advice, and 
employed 'him as a peacemaker. He witnessed with sorrow 
the outbreak of the Maori war, which his efforts limited but 
could not prevent. To this disastrous conflict Whiteley fell a 
victim in 1869, being shot by a party of raiders while journey- 
ing with too little care for his own safety in a disturbed district. 
His death was lamented in the rebel camp hardly less than 
by his fellow Missionaries. 


Some compensation for the surrender of John Hobbs to 
the Friendly Islands was made by the transfer from that 
quarter of William Woon in 1834. Woon had comparatively 
failed in the other District, and lost heart. Hearing of this, 
and knowing that he had been a printer, White, who was keen 
on extending the use of the printing-press at Hokianga in 
which Hobbs had made a tentative beginning, invited him 
thither. He came, and proved a valuable adjunct to the New 
Zealand Mission, not only in the press department, which he 
made thoroughly efficient, but in its general work. His 
health recovered, and he was reinstated in the ministry. For 
twenty-four years he rendered excellent service in this field. 
Woon's knowledge of Tongan enabled him easily to acquire 
Maori. White observed the eagerness for learning awakened 
in the young Maori nature — the art of writing and reading 
was a revelation to this people, the report of which spread 
like the news of a miracle through the country, awakening a 
curiosity and ambition of which the Missionaries took the best 
advantage. White was a man of some literary power ; his 
letters to the Mission House, more frequent than those of his 
predecessors, give telling descriptions of life and scenery. The 
more settled state of the country enabled him to extend his 
tours amongst the kaingas (native villages), and to plan out 
the enlargements of the Mission realized by his successors. 
William White's rule, however, was not of long duration ; in 
1836 he withdrew from the Mission to take up a colonist's 
life. He assisted in the founding of the city of Auckland, 
where he lived and prospered to advanced years. Mrs. White, 
who reached a still more venerable age, was a mother of the 
Church in Auckland. Whatever judgement may have been 
formed of Mr. White's withdrawal from the ministry, it must 
be acknowledged that he and his wife rendered good service 
to the community in after years ; they enjoyed and they 
dispensed much of God's blessing. 

Assured that the New Zealand Mission was taking root at 
Hokianga, the Missionary Society encouraged it by sending 
out in 1834 another devoted couple — James Wallis and his 
wife. Wallis was a man of a similar type to Whiteley, if not 
quite of equal calibre. A Londoner, of small bodily stature 
but wiry constitution, he had a large soul, and was full of 
courage and activity. He, too, had the linguistic faculty. 


Wallis was known as a voracious reader and a man of wide 
information, with an horizon beyond that of his immediate 
work. Though liable to fits of depression, he toiled un- 
remittingly in the Maori field, and shared its triumphs and 
sorrows for nigh thirty tears. His strength gave way in 1868, 
but he survived all his contemporaries, spending a protracted 
old age at Auckland, where his more retired ministry was 
greatly blessed ; there he died in 1895. White's place was 
filled in the Chair of the District in 1836 by the reappoint- 
ment of Nathaniel Turner, whom every one welcomed back 
to New Zealand. 

If still inadequate to the demands of its work, the staff 
gathered around Turner was thoroughly devoted and competent. 
All its men were shaping for good vernacular Preachers. 
Fifteen chapels had been built in the Hokianga Circuit — most 
of them on or near the rivers flowing into the estuary — at 
each of which small or larger Societies existed. Schools were 
multiplying, and were eagerly supported by the Native chiefs. 
Maori teachers were in training, and a beginning had been 
made in the creation of a Native agency. The Mission was 
on good terms with the little English community within its 
borders, helping and being helped by it in turn. One of the 
English residents, George Stephenson by name, was a Local 
Preacher, and of the utmost use to his Church. A skilled 
artisan, he had a hand in building many of the earliest chapels 
and Mission houses. Like others of the first comers, Stephen- 
son attained in the salubrious air of New Zealand a patriarchal 
age, to become a reverend father of Colonial Methodism. The 
first record of the Hokianga Church membership, in the year 
1830, gives the number as 2 ; in 1839 the Maori Church has 
grown to 20 members ; hundreds more were ' on trial.' From 
this date the increase is rapid ; in successive years the figures 
given are 600, 1,000, 1,263, I »565- In 1840 the mother Circuit 
was divided into five — Mangungu, Newark (named after the 
English town from which Whiteley hailed), Kaipara, Kawhia, 
and Waingaroa. Newark lay inland ; the other stations 
ranged southward along the western shore, the greater part 
of which was now covered by missionary activities, which 
penetrated far up the rivers. 

Writing shortly after his arrival (1834), Woon draws a 
vivid picture of the Sunday scenes at Mangungu : 


The Native chapel was crowded to excess, and great numbers had 
to sit outside for want of room — all apparently panting for the word of 
life. In the evening the people almost trampled upon each other when 
making their way to the house of God. Some of them had come forty 
miles to attend the worship. A great chief from Mangamuka, about 
fifteen miles distant, came for the first time to profess his attachment 
to Christianity. Almost every Sabbath strangers who have been invited 
by their neighbours and friends to forsake their heathenish pursuits and 
attend the worship of God make their appearance. Their singing, 
prayers, attention to their Classes and other ordinances of religion, leave 
no doubt on our minds as to their sincerity ; and for consistency and 
decorum in the house of God they are a pattern to many who have 
enjoyed greater advantages. . . . But [he continues] we cannot meet 
their spiritual wants, being so few amongst the multitude hungering 
for salvation. 

A school examination was held on the following Christmas 
Day — functions of this kind were immensely popular. Fifty- 
three canoes were to be counted drawn up on the beach, which 
had conveyed at least a thousand people, who had travelled 
twenty-five or thirty miles to be present, bringing their pro- 
visions with them. 1 The exercises of the school festival 
occupied a whole day. It was found that amongst the scholars 
fifty-eight young men and boys, and twenty women, could 
read the New Testament and write a good hand ; others who 
could only spell the lesson slowly held back from exhibition. 
Two hundred succeeded in answering questions put to them 
from the Catechism ; it is not surprising that some failed under 
cfoss-examination to show a comprehension of the meaning of 
their answers. The total number under instruction in the 
schools was reported as 400. This demonstration took place 
within seven years of the beginning at Mangungu. Nothing 
interested and delighted the Maoris more than to see their 
children brought under discipline and orderly control, for 
their families were mostly at a loss in this respect. The 
services regularly held for Europeans' were attended by passing 
sailors from trading ships, as well as by the servants of the 
timber company settled on the Bay. On one of these occasions 
the mate of a Swedish vessel was converted to God, who, 
returning home, became an office-bearer in George Scott's 
church at Stockholm. 

Great things are said about the wives of the New Zealand 

1 It must be remembered that December 25 is midsummer time in the Southern 



pioneer Missionaries ; to several of them reference has already 
been made. These ladies seem to have been chosen by a 
special providence for the exacting sphere they had to fill. 
The climate, happily, was conducive to health, so that the 
hardships and perils of their daily lot could be more cheer- 
fully supported ; the fatalities distressingly frequent amongst 
missionary women on many fields did not occur here. The 
tact and management, as well as courage, they exhibited when 
left alone, as was often the case, for weeks together amongst 
savages scarcely redeemed from cannibal habits, have never 
been surpassed. To the credit of the heathen Maori it should 
be said that he had in him a touch of chivalry, a sense of 
obligation for kindness shown, and a reverence for his plighted 
word, which raised him above less ferocious peoples. To the 
remarkable talent and efficiency of these missionary mothers 
it is due that the training of the Maori women fell so little 
behind that of the menfolk. The girls were eager and imitative, 
and were not repressed as amongst many heathen races. 
Their homes were visitable, and they thronged about the 
Mission houses. They took to sewing and bread-baking, as 
well as to reading and writing, and gradually learnt the 
rudiments of cleanliness and housewifery. They appreciated 
the enhanced value and status accruing to their womanhood 
from such acquisitions, and not a few of them ' adorned the 
Saviour's doctrine ' by the new grace of their manner of life. 
William White, who was a shrewd man of business whije 
he was a conscientious Missionary, had been drawn into a 
method of combining these callings which traversed Methodist 
rule. Nathaniel Turner was sent to take over his superinten- 
dency, and to institute the necessary inquiry. He discharged 
his painful duty with firmness, but with so much prudence and 
kindness that scandal was avoided and no lasting wound 
remained. The Missionary Committee recalled White to 
England ; but he preferred to leave the ministry, and pursue 
in the colony the avocation in which he had become interested. x 
The prompt exercise of discipline was salutary. A young 
country like New Zealand presented opportunities for money- 
making very tempting to men with an eye that way ; where 
the future of children reared in the colony was concerned, 

1 Morley's History gives the failure of Mrs. White's health as the chief reason for 
the change. 


such openings might well wear the guise of providential 
leadings. Turner's diary indicates that he felt the force of 
the temptation to a man blessed with a large family. Private 
land purchases from the Natives were effected about this time 
by members of the neighbouring Mission, out of which no 
little reproach afterwards resulted ; the Methodist staff kept 
itself wholly clear from these entanglements. 

White and Whiteley had prospected in 1834, under in- 
structions from the Missionary Committee, for new stations, 
exploring southwards along the coast as far as the Kawhia 
Harbour, and south-eastwards up the great Waikato River. 
First Woon, and then Whiteley and Wallis, were posted out 
in these directions. The movements were reported to the 
heads of the Church Mission, and no demur was anticipated 
from that quarter, inasmuch as there had been an undeistanding 
from the time of settlement at Hokianga that the Wesleyans 
should occupy the western side of the island, while the 
Anglicans worked along the east. However, it turned out 
that the Church Missionaries had views in the direction of 
Waikato and Kawhia, and representations to this effect were 
addressed by the Anglican to the Wesleyan Committee in 
London, to which the latter, somewhat hastily, deferred. 
Orders were sent out to withdraw from the disputed areas, 
although our Missionaries, who were alone upon the ground, 
had made a most hopeful commencement at both stations 
and had already built themselves in. The withdrawal was 
entirely against the judgement of the judicious men on the 
spot, who were most friendly toward their Anglican fellow 
workers. On better information a readvance was ordered 
from Hatton Garden. As in the case of Samoa, this was an 
instance of mistaken missionary comity — a one-sided agreement 
made over the heads of the people concerned. The infant 
Churches thus deserted retained their love for their first teachers, 
and the broken threads were picked up a few years later, with 
smaller loss than might have been expected. This ' little 
rift within the lute ' of Anglican and Wesleyan harmony in 
New Zealand afterwards grew wide. Up to this time the 
Missions had worked like one, and the Natives scarcely observed 
the difference. Personal relations between the older Mission- 
aries on both sides continued cordial, and even intimate, 
especially between Turner and Hobbs and the two brothers 


Williams. This was shown when, on the burning of the 
Mission house at Mangungu in 1838, a contribution of £40 was 
sent from the Bay of Islands in relief. In the kindest way, 
also, Henry Williams received Nathaniel Turner's sons into 
the boarding school at Waimate provided for the families of 
the Church Missionaries. On the closing of the two stations 
above named, in 1836, Kaipara was occupied — the nearest 
inlet south of Hokianga. Here also Wallis was the pioneer. 
The Maori converts soon found their natural leaders ; the 
energy and enterprise of the Native temperament made for 
self-help and aggressiveness in their Church life. Although the 
chiefs suffered a very sensible loss through Christianity, in the 
breaking of the customs of tabu which had ' hedged ' their 
persons with a sort of ' divinity ' and contributed greatly to 
their power, * they became in large numbers ' obedient to the 
faith.' Their example counted for much in the tide which 
flowed strongly toward Christianity during the later thirties 
and the forties. Such a case was that of Te Awaitai, a mighty 
warrior and the right-hand man of Te Wherowhero, the Waikato 
chief -paramount, afterwards elected the Potatau, or Maori 
King. He was a convert of Wallis's at Kawhia. This man had 
nine wives, of whom eight had to be renounced. Polygamy 
greatly hindered the Gospel, as in other heathen lands ; but 
the Maori conscience was fairly open on this subject, and the 
reasonableness of Christ's law was recognized. Te Awaitai 
chose the name of Wiremu Nera (William Naylor), by which 
he was known to the day of his death as a thoroughgoing 
Methodist, and a staunch friend of British rule. He was a man 
of high character exercising great influence over his fellow 
countrymen, and filled most offices that a layman can discharge. 
Wiremu Patene (William Barton s ) was one of the heroes of the 
early Maori Church — a Local Preacher of zeal and power. In 
1837 he set out with three companions to visit the chief of a 
small tribe not far from Hokianga, who was viciously opposed 
to Christianity. This man, Kaitoke by name, had a priest who 

1 The loss of authority on the part of the Maori chiefs was one cause of the social 
unsettlement which culminated in the ruinous wars of the fifties and sixties. 

* At the beginning baptized Natives commonly took names altogether new, 
suggested by the Missionaries, which were transformed on the Maori tongue beyond 
recognition. Later, the Missionaries advised retention of the old surname. To this 
the people concerned often demurred, because it appeared that the name borne in 
heathendom had an objectionable significance. When they were allowed to substitute 
a new Maori surname with a pleasant meaning they were satisfied. This combination 
became the usual practice. 


gave him a consecrated musket and ball-cartridges warranted 
to kill, while the user should be invulnerable. Threatening to 
shoot at sight the next Mission teacher who troubled him, 
Kaitoke was as good as his word ; he fired on Patene and his 
friends directly they came within range. Two of the approach- 
ing party fell — one living only long enough to beg that his 
death should not be avenged, the other lingering in agony, with 
prayers for the murderers on his lips. These young men — 
Matiu (Matthew) and Rihimona — are commemorated as the 
first martyrs of the New Zealand Methodist Church. Patene 
escaped, with three bullets through his blanket. The injured 
tribe assembled to the number of 600. The Christians pleaded 
for forgiveness ; they were out-voted. Turner and Whiteley, 
happening to be in the neighbourhood, attempted a parley 
with the heathen, but were warned off by musket-shots. An 
engagement then began, which the Missionaries were powerless 
to avert. The heathen pah was stormed, and the survivors 
captured, including the wounded Kaitoke and his priest. 
Seventeen men were killed in this affray, and many others 
wounded. The injured on both sides were tended with equal 
care. Formerly prisoners would have been devoured, or if too 
numerous sold for slaves ; now in a short time they were 
liberated, the loss their village had suffered being deemed 
sufficient punishment. It was affecting to hear Patene on the 
next Sunday publicly praying for the slayer of his friends. In 
the end Kaitoke and his priest both accepted the Gospel. 
Patene 's career was in keeping with this fine beginning. Another 
powerful and gifted man won for Christ about the same time 
was Patuone's brother Tamate Waka (Thomas Walker) Nene, 
the Wesleyan chief whose impassioned speech at the Conference 
of Waitangi, in February, 1840, brought the Natives round to 
accept the Treaty which placed New Zealand under the 
dominion of the British Crown. A scarcely less notable chief, 
and one whose example told greatly amongst his people — who 
spared nothing to serve the cause of Christ — was baptized under 
the name of Epiha Putini (Jabez Bunting), a Methodist noble- 
man worthy of his name-father ! Bishop Selwyn coveted 
Putini for the Anglican Church, and, knowing him to be grieved 
because the Methodist Mission could not afford a Minister for 
his tribe, he offered to send him a clergyman, provided he 
would accept rebaptism and ' enter the Church.' Putini asked 


the Bishop : ' How many times was Jesus Christ baptized — 
once or more than once ? ' ' Once only,' was the answer. 
' Then once will do for me ! ' said the Maori ; and the interview 
closed. Putini built a large chapel near his residence, where 
in later years he often preached himself. Such anecdotes could 
be multiplied ad libitum. 

Methodism was winning the affection and intelligence of the 
Maori tribes on the west of the North Island, as the Anglican 
Mission was doing in its larger sphere on the eastern side. 
Visitors from distant tribes frequently lodged at Hokianga for 
months together, for the sake of instruction by the Missionaries. 
William Woon conducted a class composed of such strangers, 
out of which many valuable converts were won. By the 
beginning of the forties the Christianization of the whole Maori 
people seemed to be in prospect ; fifteen years later, before the 
outbreak of the war, Whiteley reckoned nine-tenths of the 
population as adherents of Christianity. So imperative were 
the demands of the fast-growing work that in March, 1838, 
when Mr. and Mrs. Hobbs on their way from the Friendly 
Islands to Van Diemen's Land (whither the last Conference 
had transferred them) called at Hokianga, they were detained 
in New Zealand on the authority of a special District Synod 
summoned by Turner for the purpose. The emergency was of 
an opposite kind to that which ten years earlier had diverted 
Turner's course in the opposite direction ; he felt it to be 
equally compelling. On reference being made to London, the 
Missionary Committee endorsed this action, which resulted in 
John Hobbs remaining for the rest of his days a New Zealander. 

The next Synod emphasized this intervention by asking 
Hatton Garden for ten additional men ; no smaller reinforce- 
ment would meet the calls assailing it from north to south of 
the island. One of the required ten must be a Hebrew and 
Greek scholar, competent for Bible translation ; another 
should be medically qualified. A bookbinder was in request, 
to help Woon in the work of the press. Hobbs' return was a 
joyous event. He had the happiness of presiding at the baptism 
of 140 persons on Ms first Sunday at Mangungu, of whom 100 
were adults. It was noticed with astonishment that though 
this great Missionary had been four years absent, using all the 
while another tongue, he preached in Maori on that day with 
complete ease and fluency. 


The five Ministers whom Hobbs found in the District on his 
return included a man destined to fill a large place in New 
Zealand Methodism, whose name has not yet appeared. This 
was James Buller, previously tutor in the Turner family. A 
young Cornish Local Preacher, he had emigrated to New 
South Wales with his wife two or three years back, hoping to 
find some missionary sphere in which he might serve God and 
mankind. Mr. Turner met with him in Sydney on the eve 
of his departure for Hokianga. He was at a loss to provide 
for his children's schooling ; here was the very man required- 
educated, gentlemanly, enterprising, and a missionary as- 
pirant. The alliance at once was made ; its value was quickly 
evident. While the tutor was a diligent pedagogue, he applied 
himself to the Maori language with such success that within 
twelve months he was able to preach in the vernacular ; he 
could turn his hand to any work that was going on. Every 
one saw where James Buller's vocation lay. The October 
Synod of 1837 recommended him with the utmost confidence 
for employment by the Conference. The Turner boys had to 
lose their tutor ; the Mission gained a recruit of first-rate 
quality. Mr. and Mrs. Buller gave unitedly the fullness of a 
long and strenuous life to the work of God in New Zealand, 
promoting it alike in the Maori and colonial fields. Buller's 
ability was widely recognized by his brethren ; a master- 
builder of New Zealand Methodism, he was raised in 1864 to 
the Chair of the Australasian Conference. After his probation 
he was sent to open a new Mission in the North Wairoa Valley ; 
here he laboured continuously for fourteen years, his physical 
strength sustaining his great resources of mind and spirit on 
this arduous, dangerous field. His gifts were not those of 
imagination or eloquence, so much as of strong sense and strong 
will. His dignity of bearing and love of order repressed 
barbarian licence and colonial looseness of behaviour, and 
helped to impress on both constituents of the Church ' the 
right ways of the Lord.' Buller foresaw the future awaiting 
New Zealand as an English colony ; he sought to prepare the 
Natives for this eventuality, and to lay the basis of a good 
understanding between the races. He kept in touch with 
English thought, and, while buried in the New Zealand forest, 
made it a rule to write every week a sermon in his mother 
tongue. When the rush of colonists came, he was ready to 


meet it. Trained by a wise mother, his children combined 
English culture with an adept knowledge of Native life in New 
Zealand, and took a worthy place in the new order. One of 
this distinguished family, Sir Walter L. Buller, has been called 
' the Audubon ' of the islands ; his Manual of the Birds of 
New Zealand is the standard authority upon this subject. 
James Buller has himself left a literary memorial in his Forty 
Years in New Zealand (1878), which supplies valuable data 
for tracing the early growth of the colony and Commonwealth. 
Free use of this work has been made by the present writer. 
Between the time of Hobbs' arrival and Turner's departure, 
on the night of August 18, 1838, a tragic calamity befell the 
Mission. The Mangungu Mission House, occupied by the 
family of the Turners, was destroyed by fire. The inmates 
were asleep when the alarm was given, and Mrs. Turner was 
barely convalescent after a severe illness of ten weeks' duration. 
She counted the children by the flame light as they gathered 
from the Hobbs' and her own house. One was missing ! 
Instantly search was made, and her little lad was found still 
asleep in his chamber. A moment more and rescue would 
have been impossible. This boy — the Rev. John G. Turner, of 
the Australasian Conference — lived to succeed to his father's 
ministry, and to tell the story. The fire had all but seized on 
Mr. Hobbs' dwelling near by when a sudden change of wind 
diverted the flames, and the rest of the premises were spared. 
The damage was estimated at £800, and a second time Mr. and 
Mrs. Turner lost their earthly goods. It was noticed with 
gratitude how utterly different was the conduct of the Natives 
on this occasion from that exhibited at the Wesleydale calamity 
less than twelve years before. Now the sufferers experienced 
nothing but sympathy and help, and their distress was turned 
into thanksgiving. Waka Nene offered his condolence to 
Mrs= Turner in the following terms : 

O mother, do not let thy heart be very much distressed ; for though 
thy home and property are destroyed, thy life, thy husband, and thy 
children are spared ! I have no European clothes to give for your 
children, but they shall have pork and potatoes to eat, and such things 
as we have. 

The development of the South Sea Missions greatly engaged 
the attention of the Missionary Committee during the later 


thirties. The whole of the Friendly Islanders were turning to 
God, and a footing had been won amongst their cannibal 
neighbours, the Fijians. The work in Australia had begun 
to prosper, and was spreading to the newer colonies of that 
continent. The five missionary Districts created in the South 
Seas were closely interlinked, while separated from England 
by half the circumference of the globe. Experience had shown 
the impossibility of regulating their affairs in detail from 
London, and at the same time the dangers of independent 
action on the part of small and isolated groups of agents, most 
of them young and inexperienced. It was determined in 1838 
to appoint a ' General Superintendent of the Wesleyan Missions 
in Australasia and Polynesia,' bearing the title first worn by 
Dr. Coke on his Mission to America, and holding administra- 
tive powers parallel to those exercised under this designation 
by Joseph Stinson in the Canadian Missions and by William 
Shaw in South Africa. The Chairman of each District was to 
retain his local authority, and these would form a Council 
for the generalissimo, who should have eyes and ears for the 
whole province and be the executive arm of the supreme 
control in Hatton Garden. 

An excellent choice was made for this important office in 
John Waterhouse, a Preacher of nearly thirty years' standing 
in England, but still at the height of his powers — a man dis- 
tinguished by popular gifts, by breadth of mind and fervour 
of spirit, combined with a large measure of business ability 
and of brotherly tact. He came out to the colonies with the 
prestige attaching to a front-rank man in the home ministry ; 
his own bearing and fatherly wisdom secured the willing 
deference of his brethren on the Mission Field, and won their 
affection. The General Superintendent's residence was fixed 
at Hobart Town — the most central point for the five Districts. 
It was part of the scheme that a missionary ship should be at 
his service to facilitate his visitations. The Triton was forth- 
coming for the purpose in the course of next year. Nothing 
could have been happier than this appointment. 

Waterhouse arrived on the field early in 1839, an d addressed 
himself vigorously to his duties, engaging in a round of voyages 
and tours which occupied him for sixteen months. A serious 
drawback to the Superintendent's efficiency discovered itself, 
however, in his nervous temperament, particularly in the 


liability to sickness, which made sea-voyages distressing and 
exhausting to him. Labouring incessantly under this discom- 
fort, and bearing the strain of accident and privation less easily 
than a younger man would have done, Waterhouse's strong 
constitution began to give way. He did not know how to spare 
himself. Instead of taking rest upon his return from the 
outlying islands, he set out toward the close of 1841 on a tour 
through Van Diemen's Land, in the course of which his health 
completely failed. Lingering for five months, he died at 
Hobart on March 30, 1842, in his fifty-third year. No man 
was able to fill the place which John Waterhouse during these 
few years had made for himself in the Methodism of the South 

The Missionary Society could not furnish at once the ten 
men asked for by New Zealand ; five were sent, doubling the 
number of the previous staff, four of them accompanying the 
General Superintendent. The new-comers were John H. 
Bumby, Samuel Ironside, Charles Creed, John Warren, 
appointed from England ; and James Watkin, brought across 
from the Friendly Islands. On the other side of the account 
there had to be set the removal of Nathaniel Turner, in exchange 
for whom John Hobbs had been already secured for Hokianga. 
Turner's appointment to the latter post had been understood 
to be temporary. His large family required opportunities for 
education not then to be found in New Zealand ; moreover, 
he and his wife had suffered alarming sicknesses, which rendered 
the change desirable on their account. In August, 1839, with 
great sorrow on both sides, the Turners took a final farewell of 
their beloved Maori flock and their missionary colleagues and 

Amongst the latter was a young Irish doctor named Richard 
Day, an ardent Methodist with a peculiar gift for friendship, 
domiciled for some months in the Turners' house. Dr. Day 
had been commissioned by a group of friends in Ireland, on 
the strength of his report, to secure land for them in New 
Zealand. He purchased a thousand acres at some distance 
south-east of Hokianga. The intending settlers — twenty-two 
persons in all — with their families, made a safe voyage as far 
as Auckland. The vessel called at the Bay of Islands, where 
two of the immigrants landed, crossing by foot to Hokianga to 
prepare for the coming of the rest, who sailed round the 


Northern Cape. The ship was wrecked at the entrance of 
Kaipara Harbour, and her passengers, all but one little boy, 
were drowned almost in sight of their destination. This 
happened in September, 1841. Of the two who left the ill-fated 
vessel before the disaster George Stannard was one — a Local 
Preacher in his native country, and a man ' cast in no common 
mould.' Losing his family by the shipwreck, he abandoned his 
plans for farming, and attached himself to James Buller, with 
whom he found a home and congenial employment in the 
Mission. Two years later he also entered the ministry. Here 
he made full proof of his original gifts of mind and his intense, 
self -forgetful devotion. He became a thorough Maori scholar, 
and opened several new stations. Living till 1888, he spent the 
latter half of his course as a supernumerary in broken strength, 
which he continued to exert to the utmost in pulpit and pastoral 
labours. Dr. Day remained in the medical profession, lodging 
with the Hobbs family, first in Hokianga and then at Auckland. 
Of precarious health, he nevertheless reached a good old age. 
His kindly aspect and pleasant humour lent an unfailing charm 
to his abounding good works. He was honorary physician and 
adviser in all kinds of practical matters to the missionary 
families, and furthered in many ways the work of the Missions. 
Richard Day's name was fragrant far and wide as that of ' the 
beloved physician ' of the colony. 

Chief of the recruits brought from England by John Water- 
house was John H. Bumby, now in the tenth year of his 
ministry. Like Waterhouse, he was a Yorkshireman ; the two 
had ' travelled ' together in Birmingham, where they formed a 
friendship which led to their later association. Though a strong 
and active man, Bumby — who was one of the most admired of 
the younger Preachers in the home Circuits and greatly sought 
after — had been threatened with phthisis ; it was hoped that 
the New Zealand climate would ( confirm his health. The 
Committee designated him to succeed Nathaniel Turner in 
chairmanship. Now in his thirty-first year, he arrived full of 
energy and hope ; his brethren felt that they had got a captain 
of the right stamp. Without delay he set out, accompanied by 
Hobbs, on a three months' voyage, in which they reached the 
coast of the Middle Island ; they surveyed the unoccupied 
shores about Cook's Strait, making friends with the Natives 
and marking out sites for future work. In most places they 


were welcomed and found ' a people prepared for the Lord.' 
Later in the year a shorter tour was taken in the country north 
of Mangungu, when Wesleydale was revisited and plans for 
reoccupation were entertained. » There was a zest and inspira- 
tion in the young Chairman's leadership from which great 
things were expected. But God willed it otherwise. In May 
of the next year he proceeded to instal the Missionaries 
appointed to the newly fixed southern stations, the party sailing 
in the Triton along with Waterhouse, * who was going to Tonga 
from Hokianga. Bumby decided to return northwards over- 
land, in order to acquaint himself better with the country. He 
and his Native escort had covered the greater part of the 
distance, and were crossing the Bay of Thames after visiting 
the Church Mission in that district, when through mismanage- 
ment the canoe was upset, and the Missionary, unable to swim, 
lost his life by drowning. Thirteen of the twenty perished 
with their leader. This distressing accident befell on June 26, 
near Waitemata. 

Bumby's younger associates — Ironside, Creed, and Warren — 
were also men of mark ; each of them rendered memorable 
service on the New Zealand field. Ironside, a fellow student 
with John Hunt and William Arthur at Hoxton, excelled in 
energy and preaching power ; his temperament was in keeping 
with his name. Creed was a man of gentler mould, apt in 
teaching and shepherding the flock of Christ and with excep- 
tional gifts of management. Warren, the son of a Norfolk 
farmer, marked himself out as ' clear-headed and resolute ' — 
he too was a much-admired Preacher, his ' limpid eloquence ' 
being as notable as Ironside's force and passion. These three 
alike were successful pioneers in the Maori work, gaining a 
mastery of the language and a sure hold upon the hearts of the 
people. The two former gave their maturer ministry to 
Australia ; Warren ran his whole course in New Zealand, filling 
in later years the most important colonial pulpits. He founded 
the Waima Station, twenty miles inland from Mangungu, and 
made the valley around that spot to ' blossom as the rose,' both 
in the material and spiritual sense. These three brought wives 

1 This intention had to be abandoned on Bumby's death. 

* On the last Sunday Waterhouse and Bumby spent together at Hokianga before 
sailing south a memorable love-feast was held, when the Maori converts assembled 
— in several instances old cannibals whose hands in former days had been imbrued 
in the blood of each other's kindred — to tell what God had wrought for them. 


with them — a welcome accession to the staff ; John Bumby's 
sister was his companion and housekeeper. After his death 
she married Gideon Smales. James Watkin, an efficient all- 
round Missionary and the father of three valued missionary 
sons, arrived a little later than those above-named ; he had 
been Nathaniel Turner's colleague in Tonga, where he laboured 
for the first eight years of his ministry. The ten men whose 
names figure on the New Zealand Stations for 1838, with 
Turner at their head, formed as competent, united, and true a 
Mission staff as any District has ever been blessed with. 

In April, 1840, the Triton arrived on her first trip, bringing 
another batch of recruits for New Zealand, in charge of Water- 
house. These were Thomas Buddie, John Skevington, Henry 
H. Turton, and their wives ; also John Aldred, George Buttle, 
and Gideon Smales, unmarried. The District had now been 
granted more than the ten new men asked for a while ago ; it 
was possible to multiply its Circuits at a stroke from four to 
ten ! Kaikara, Waingaroa, Taranake (New Plymouth) and 
Port Nicholson make their appearance on the Stations — places 
which had only received occasional visits hitherto. We content 
ourselves with the briefest notices of the career of the newly 
arrived men. Skevington died in five years, through overwork 
— a man of ordinary talent, whose piety and zeal surmounted 
the greatest difficulties. Smales was decidedly able, and gave 
promise of special usefulness ; but after serving effectively for 
fourteen years, like William White he turned aside to secular 
business under the pressure of family needs ; but he and his 
household remained attached and serviceable to their Church. 
Buttle and Turton both proved good vernacular Missionaries 
and colonial Ministers in after life. The latter was a man of 
some learning, and vindicated Methodism tellingly by speech 
and pen against Bishop Selwyn, on the question of rebaptism 
and Anglican usurpations. Aldred organized in succession 
several of the first English Circuits in New Zealand ; he is 
remembered as a model of ' courtesy and pastoral fidelity, 
endeared both to old and young.' T. Buddie was the most 
distinguished of this group of companions. He ranked with 
Buller in statesmanship, and preceded him in the Presidency 
of the Australasian Conference. A hard-headed Durham 
man, he was strong at all points, both in the Maori and English 
work. Under his ' faithful preaching and impassioned prayers, 


an almost continuous revival was seen in the early years of his 
ministry.' He was a master of Church affairs, and was Lawry's 
right hand during his General Superintendency. Though 
bereaved of their brilliant leader Bumby, the New Zealand 
staff of 1840 remained a powerful body, wanting in weight of 
years and experience, but full of talent and enterprise, and not 
without men of judgement and solid character in its ranks. 

In 1 841 the District was divided into northern and southern 
sections, Hobbs being designated ' Acting Chairman ' of the 
former, Whiteley of the latter half, under the general oversight 
of Waterhouse. The Middle Island appears on the Stations in 
the same year. The name of Auckland — the seat of the newly 
established British rule — is first recorded in the Minutes of 
1843, and heads the list of the fifteen Circuits now enumerated. 
Walter La wry, as General Superintendent (for New Zealand), 
was posted there. Since his withdrawal from the Friendly 
Islands twenty years ago Lawry had served in England, where 
he rose to District Chairmanship. His appointment over the 
heads of the tried men on the ground was not altogether relished 
by the Missionaries, but it was justified by his sound administra- 
tion and powerful preaching, and by the strong position he 
won for Methodism in Auckland. The staff received no further 
addition at this time. The effect of recent reinforcements was 
seen in the trebling of the New Zealand Church membership 
between 1839 and 1843. In the latter year it was estimated as 
3,259 in number. An appreciable fraction of the total, by this 
date, must have been English ; the returns, unfortunately, do 
not discriminate between Natives and colonials. This figure 
remained about the high-water mark of the New Zealand 
Church in point of numbers for a considerable period. From 
this time, as the tide of colonial immigration swelled and as 
Native discontent and unrest increased, our English con- 
stituency in the islands grew, and the Maori Churches suffered 

Midway m the forties the outlook of the Maori work, for 
some years so cheering, grew overcast. The clouds darkened, 
until at the end of the fifties there fell the storm which shattered 
the Native churches and threatened to destroy the Native race. 
Had the Missionaries been allowed to pursue their labours 
undisturbed, with the Anglican and Methodist Missions working 
in unison, there is reason to suppose that in another generation 


the Maori people would have been substantially won for 
Christ, and an indigenous civilized order of a novel type might 
have emerged. But such isolation was impossible. The con- 
version of the Natives had so far advanced that the door was 
open for colonization ; European traders and settlers, mostly 
British, were getting a foothold all round the coast — they were 
no longer in fear of being eaten ! The Maoris were a brave and 
clever, but not a numerous, people ; it could not be expected 
that a country so large, matching in size the British Isles, and 
so inviting by reason of its climate and the wealth of its soil, 
should remain in the sole possession of some hundred thousand 
half-nomad barbarians. Everything pointed to British annexa- 
tion ; if the British Government held off its hands, another 
European power would inevitably have stepped in. 

The occupation was precipitated by an unfortunate train 
of circumstances, to be referred to later, and colonization came 
about in a sudden and wholesale fashion, undesirable both for 
immigrants and Natives. The event was premature from 
the missionary point of view. The work of the Mission made 
it possible, but that work had not been carried far enough to 
prepare the ground, in any moral and Christian sense, for 
receiving the new population, and to fit the Natives to enter 
into the new order. Could the irruption have been held back 
for another ten years, or had it been regulated with a just 
regard to the rights and welfare of the Native tribes, New 
Zealand history might have taken a far happier course. As 
things were, no proper adjustment was attempted. The shock 
was disastrous, and much of the good already effected for 
the country perished in the conflict which ensued. 

Another cause gravely contributed to the misfortunes which 
attended this crisis. Ecclesiastical strife aggravated the 
mischief wrought by political wrong ; the Christian forces 
were weakened by division when their united strength was 
most required. A Papist Mission made its appearance near 
Hokianga, at the time when the Methodist work began to 
prosper. x According to their wont, the Roman priests sought 

1 A French adventurer who called himself Baron de Thierry played a strange 
part in new Zealand affairs about this time. This man had met Thomas Kendall 
when he was conducting Hongi on his tour in England, and purchased, for a trifling 
consideration, a landed property in Northern New Zealand of which Kendall professed 
to have the disposal, not far from Hokianga. De Thierry came on the scene some 
years after the establishment of the Wesleyan Mission, attended by a retinue of 
servants, to take possession of his demesne, and annbunced himself as ' Charles, by 
the grace of God Sovereign Lord of New Zealand ' ! He had no title-deeds to show ; 


their converts amongst the existing Churches rather than 
amongst the heathen, and used insidious and unscrupulous 
arts. They failed to detach any large or valuable part of the 
Methodist adherents. Happily, by this time, through the 
labours of the Bay of Islands Missionaries in translation, the 
full New Testament was available for the people, and the 
schools had produced intelligent readers ; but some unstable 
converts were captivated, and seeds of mistrust and agitation 
were sown which bore evil fruit. 

More widely and permanently hurtful to the work of God 
was the dissension between the two Protestant Missions brought 
about through the action of Dr. Selwyn, first Bishop of the 
Church of England in New Zealand. George Augustus Selwyn, 
who entered on his diocese in May, 1841, was in most respects 
an admirable man — an embodiment of the finest English 
breeding and culture, a saint in piety, a hero in courage, an 
athlete in physical activity, a statesman in grasp of affairs, 
a true Missionary in spirit. He was a young man to boot, 
of no small self-confidence and strength of will. But Selwyn 
was a cleric to the backbone, and he came to his work charged 
with the enthusiasm of the Oxford Movement, and determined 
to fashion the Church of New Zealand after the new High 
Church pattern. He found the Wesleyan Mission a chief 
obstruction in his path. The harmony existing between the 
Church people and the Methodists was, in his eyes, a scandal. 
Ever since the alliance between Marsden and Leigh the two 
bodies had co-operated almost as one. 1 The Natives were 
hardly aware of any discrepancy. The Sacraments of each 
Communion were recognized by the other, and Church member- 
ship on removal from place to place was interchangeable. The 
two bodies of Missionaries fraternized, and rendered to each 
other the kindest offices of friendship. The Bishop's first 
visitation charge revealed his determination to change all 

the Native chiefs denied having made any sale to Kendall. They had offered him 
land on conditio!) of his coming to live amongst them as their teacher — a condition 
never fulfilled. The claimant had been cheated ! Waka Nene, the principal chief 
concerned, advised by the Missionaries, in compassion for the French gentleman, 
made him a grant of valuable land at Hokere. Here de Thierry settled and resided 
for many years, living in an imposing style without very visible means of support. 
He rewarded his benefactors by inviting Romanist Missionaries to the island. Sub- 
sequently he is believed to have suggested the expedition dispatched to these seas 
with a view (as many supposed) to planting the French flag on the west New Zealand 
coast, whose arrival was narrowly anticipated by the declaration of British sovereignty. 
1 The recent attempt of the CM.S. to shut the Methodists out of Kawhia and 
the Waikato Valley was admittedly a mistake, due to misjudgement in England 
rather than to intrusion on the part of the Anglican Missionaries. 


that. Addressing himself to the imagination of the Natives, 
he denounced the Wesleyan Society as ' a crooked branch ' 
and its people as ' a fallen tribe who had no Scriptural 
Ministers.' From their next Synod the Wesleyan Missionaries 
sent to their denouncer a respectful remonstrance, to which 
he replied with the utmost frankness, declaring their ordina- 
tion to be invalid, their baptisms to be at best the acts of mere 
laymen, and themselves to be schismatics. This meant, on 
the Bishop's part, war to the knife. ' Churchmen ' every- 
where must hold aloof from Methodists ; they might not 
worship together, nor share in any religious offices ; and where 
it was possible to exclude them, Methodist Preachers must 
not be allowed within the village fence. The effect upon the 
Native mind of these declarations, and of the systematic 
excommunication which followed, was most unhappy. Con- 
troversy was awakened and dissension created from end to 
end of New Zealand ; the meanest of human passions were 
roused, and Christianity itself was discredited in the people's 
eyes. The Papists looked on with glee at the falling out of 
Wetere and Hahi (Wesley and the Church), and echoed against 
Bishop Selwyn and his clergy their own excommunications 
of the Methodists, impartially branding both parties as heretics. 
The older Church Missionaries were dismayed, x and protested, 
where they might, against the departure from evangelical 
and catholic principles ; but they were borne down by authority, 
and in a short time outnumbered by the new clergy whom the 
Bishop imported. 

Between Episcopalian, Methodist, and Romanist the simple 
Maori stood bewildered ! Here was ' another ' — nay, two 
ether Gospels offered him, in place of the one Gospel he had 
received. The leaven of Church contention sourly leavened 
the lump of Maori Christianity. The work of conversion was 
at many points arrested, and the Church of Christ ceased to 
present a united front in face of the evils threatening it from 
racial strife. Outwardly the Anglicans appeared to make 
great gains by the new policy, but their numerical accessions 
were largely due to the wholesale baptisms and the easy 
admission to the Lord's Table which became the rule. 
Formerly the Missionaries of both Churches had interposed 
a careful catechumenate between the profession of Christianity 

1 See Richard Taylor, Past and Present of New Zealand, 1868. 



and the baptismal laver. The Anglican reversion to mediaeval 
usage removed an indispensable barrier, lowering the standard 
of Christian life and flooding the Church with unregenerate 

Not often has a good and devoted man been the instrument 
of greater mischief than Bishop Selwyn was through his 
schismatic High Church principles. 1 If, according to our 
Lord's prayer, the unity of His people is to bring ' the world ' 
to ' believe that God has sent ' Him, then the breaking up of 
that unity is a sure means to delay the world's conversion. 
So, alas, it happened to New Zealand in the crisis of the early 

1 It is fair to Dr. Selwyn to say that his ecclesiastical vigour was moderated by 
time and experience. While in principle he probably remained as ' High ' as ever, 
his practice during the later years of his colonial Episcopate showed a welcome 
breadth of charity ; his bearing toward Nonconformists softened into courtesy, 
sometimes even into friendliness. 



A Land of Promise — The New Zealand Association — Land-grabbing 
extraordinary — Sir George Grey's Administration — Annexation of New 
Zealand — A Crown Colony — Beginnings of Conflict — Causes of Dis- 
content — Representative Government — A Land League — Death of 
John Whiteley — Rebellion — Notable Missionaries — Methodism in the 
South Island — ' The Canterbury Pilgrims ' — A separate Conference. 

Captain Cook reported New Zealand as a land of promise 
for the English colonist ; the work of the Missionaries had 
removed the terror of its cannibalism, and made colonization 
possible. » Temporary lodgements had been effected and places 
of call secured for many years back by the crews of whaling- 
vessels at the inviting havens, especially toward the south ; 
and escaped convicts from time to time found refuge on the 
coast, a few of whom remained permanently, consorting with 
the Natives. Several hundred British settlers were associated 
with the Mission on the Bay of Islands, where more than a 
hundred vessels usually called in the course of the year, before 
the general immigration, and a few score of Europeans might 
be found about the Bay of Hokianga, employed in the timber- 
trade of that locality. The magnificent timber of the country, 
the fibre of the wild flax, and the kauri gum were recognized 
as valuable exports. 

The forward-looking Missionaries expected the coming of 
the colonist, at once desiring and fearing it.* They would 
gladly have delayed the crisis. No one anticipated a flood of 
invasion so wide and swift as that which set in at the beginning 
of the forties. Colonization was not effected by degrees, 
through the accession of private parties of settlers finding their 
way to the country independently and spontaneously. A 

1 At the first meeting of the Colonial Legislative Council, held in December, 1841, 
the following acknowledgement was made : ' Whatever difference of opinion may 
exist as to the value and extent of the labours of the missionary body, theie can be 
no doubt that, but for them, a British colony would not at this moment be established 
in New Zealand.' 

1 See Morley's History of Methodism in New Zealand, p. 143. 


quiet infiltration of this kind would have been comparatively 
manageable, allowing the gradual adjustment of relations 
between Natives and settlers, and sparing the latter the dis- 
appointments and miseries which fell to the lot of many. The 
business was, in the first instance, engineered by a company 
which set to work before the islands had been brought under 
British control or any proper understanding with the Natives 
had been effected. Colonization was precipitated, with most 
inadequate preparation and provision. In 1837 the New 
Zealand Association 1 was formed for the purpose, under the 
able and vigorous initiation of Edward Gibbon Wakefield. 
The promoters were ambitious men, whose devotion to 
patriotic and commercial aims appears to have excluded 
higher considerations from their minds. They showed little 
concern for the welfare of the recruits they enlisted in England, 
and still less for that of the Natives to be dispossessed in New 
Zealand. Some of their leading agents in the colony were 
both unscrupulous and incompetent. The lack of principle 
and conscience in the inception of the New Zealand colonies 
was at the root of the subsequent agrarian troubles. 

Long before the company commenced its operations the 
British Government had been compelled to interfere in the 
islands. The Governor of New South Wales in 1814, 
simultaneously with the establishment of Marsden's Mission, 
issued a proclamation warning British seamen against mal- 
treatment of the Natives. In 1824 an Act of Parliament 
extended the jurisdiction of the New South Wales Courts to 
British subjects in New Zealand. An abominable outrage 
committed by a sea-captain in 1832 led to the appointment of 
a Resident Commissioner (to whom a second was added three 
years later), who should act as magistrate and interpose in 
disputes between Natives and British. But this officer had 
no executive power, and there was no central Native tribunal 

1 Afterwards re-formed as the ' New Zealand Company.' Securing powerful 
political allies v the Association took high-handed measures. Its supporters brought 
forward, in 1838, a Parliamentary Bill for the establishment of a N.Z. colony, propos- 
ing to give them extraordinary powers, which was defeated on the second reading. 
The matter was the subject of inquiry by a Committee of the House of Lords, before 
which Mr. Dandeson Coates (on behalf of the C.M.S.) and Dr. John Beecham gave 
evidence with convincing effect in defence of Maori rights and of the work of Christian 
Missions, as against the misrepresentations and attempted encroachment of the 
Association. The two Missionary Societies played a conspicuous part as champions 
of the Natives. Dr. Beecham made this subject particularly his own, and expounded 
with great ability the moral and religious interests involved in colonization. The 
discussion arising over this case affected the whole subsequent course of British 
colonial policy toward barbarian races. 


to which he could appeal. He found himself helpless, and his 
office was regarded with contempt — the Maoris described him 
as ' a man-of-war without guns ' ! Mr. Busby, the senior 
Resident, took, however, an important step in 1835, under the 
alarm caused by the proclamation of the egregious Baron de 
Thierry, behind whom designs of the French Government were 
suspected. Busby convened a meeting at Waitangi (near the 
Bay of Islands) attended by several score Maori chiefs — some 
of them men of weight and mark — who signed a declaration 
to the effect that the sovereignty of ' the United Tribes of 
New Zealand ' was vested in ' the hereditary chiefs and heads 
of tribes in their collective capacity '; and further, that the 
said chiefs forbade the exercise of any powers of government 
in the islands by others than themselves or their delegates, 
acting under ' laws regularly enacted by them in congress 
assembled.' 1 In the conclusion of this document the hope is 
expressed that ' the King of England would continue to be 
the parent ' of the infant State, and would ' protect ' it ' from 
all attempts on its independence.' 1 

From this time events ripened fast. The affairs of New 
Zealand became the subject of Parliamentary discussion and 
inquiry in England. The Association above referred to, 
following on the success of similar plans in Australia, was 
constituted for the purpose of planting the island with 
British settlers, and secured a large degree of popular favour 
and financial support. The company sent agents to New 
Zealand to prospect in its behalf and to negotiate the purchase 
of land. Rival land-seekers flocked to the islands, each of 
them ' doing that which was right in his own eyes.' There was 
a rush of speculation in New Zealand soil — a perfect carnival 
of land-grabbing. Even the two British Residents took the 
opportunity to enrich themselves. The Natives were eager 
to sell ; great slices of land might be bought at a penny an acre, 
or less ! Sometimes money was paid over ; in other cases a 
few score old muskets, a keg of gunpowder or rum, would 
clinch the bargain. The more mischievous the form of the 
purchase-price, the more tempting it often proved to the seller, 

*No such system of laws, nor congress for the framing of laws, was in existence. 
The New Zealanders were ruled by tribal custom, arbitrarily administered by the 
local chiefs, acting singly or in consultation. The Waitangi meeting aimed at laying 
down a Native Policy. 

* Saunders' History of New Zealand, pp. 108, 109. 


and the greater the profit. It was a discovery to the Maoris 
that land had a saleable value ; this commodity supplied them 
with a ready, and, as at first it seemed, an inexhaustible means 
of obtaining the goods most coveted. Moreover, the chiefs of 
many districts at this period desired to attract settlers to their 
several localities, appreciating the advantages of trade with 
the White man. So for some time land-purchase went on 

The Maoris held the soil in communal possession, each tribe 
ranging over a definite area, while its people occupied and 
cultivated at a given time the merest fraction of the territory 
it claimed — the Native population probably did not, when 
most numerous, exceed a quarter of a million. The people 
at that period had a land system of their own, of an elaborate 
nature, which no British land agent took the trouble to under- 
stand. Every acre was owned ; the tribes were jealous of 
their rights, fighting desperately for disputed ground. It was 
proverbial that ' land and women are the roots of war ' ! l 
But with collective ownership, complicated by claims of 
individual or family occupation, the right of sale was often 
widely distributed and hard to determine, and purchases 
supposed to be complete were in many cases made from 
individuals whose Hen on the soil was limited, and whose deed 
of sale had no endorsement from the co-proprietors. The 
buyers and sellers had wholly discrepant notions of landed 
property. Beside this, they were foreigners to each other, 
and communicated through interpreters, usually Englishmen 
domiciled in New Zealand. The deeds were drawn up in 
English, and chiefs were induced to put their names to them. 
Of their real contents they knew little or nothing. There 
were, to be sure, honourable exceptions ; and many instances 
occurred of bona fide purchase, in which the buyer took care 
that the seller understood what he was about, and gave him 
solid value ; but, viewed as a whole, the land dealings of this 
period were such as to bring deep disgrace upon the British 

Transactions carried on under these conditions, with no 
effective control from law or public opinion, were bound to 
issue in misunderstanding, trickery, and embroilment. On 

1 The latter, as well as the former, of these causes was at the bottom of the Maori 
quarrel with the Pakeha. The violation by licentious Europeans of their women 
excited burning anger in the Native breast. 


so huge a scale were the Natives cheated by land-sharks that 
when, in the first years of colonial Government, a Land Court 
was constituted and the past purchases were revised, the twenty 
millions of acres claimed by some three hundred buyers were 
reduced to 100,000 ! The restitution effected through this 
inquiry was, after all, but partial and imperfect. The New 
Zealand Company was the greatest sinner ; it actually sold 
10,000 acres of New Zealand soil in London 'before the title 
to a single one had been secured.' 1 

The Missionaries looked on, warning and protesting, but 
powerless to stop the mischief — a sowing of fraud to be reaped 
in bloodshed. The Maoris were not men to be exploited with 
impunity. They woke up to understand how they had been 
fooled, and for what a ' mess of pottage ' their birthright had 
been sold. They made deep vows of revenge. 

On the other side it should be said that the Government, 
when at last it got the matter in hand, endeavoured to rectify 
the injustice. Sir George Grey's administration laid itself 
out, with considerable success, to win the confidence of the 
Natives and to help them to meet the altered conditions. It 
is true also that when the transference had been effected and 
the new owners installed, there remained in Maori hands many 
millions of acres of their Native soil, amply sufficient for their 
maintenance, had they been content with the reduced owner- 
ship and prepared to develop the land by agricultural labour. 
A certain proportion of them did this quite successfully. But 
civilization is not learnt in a day. It takes several genera- 
tions to transform a race of forest-roamers, habituated to 
wide spaces and the free fife of nature, into a steady farming- 
folk. The Maoris felt themselves fenced off, cribbed and 
confined by the Pakeha, who had cunningly filched from them 
the best part of their country. 

The proceedings we have described had forced the hand of 
the British Government and compelled annexation. Anarchy 
— or possibly French occupation, foreshadowed by de Thierry's 
pretensions — was the alternative. Hundreds of British 
emigrants were already on the way to these shores, 1 who, if 

1 The facts of these astounding scandals are stated in Morley's History of New 
Zealand Methodism, p. 148. 

* The Tory sailed for Port Nicholson, carrying the first contingent of settlers 
engaged by the N.Z. Company, in April, 1839. The company appears to have hurried 
off these people in order to put pressure on the Government at home, which was 
reluctant to tackle the N.Z. problem. 


not looked after by their country, must start some govern- 
ment of their own. In haste Captain William Hobson, R.N., 
was dispatched to New Zealand by Sir George Gipps, the then 
Governor of New South Wales, under the name of British 
Consul, but with further instructions to be acted upon as 
occasion served. Hobson found decisive action to be necessary, 
and soon after his arrival proclaimed the Islands a Dependency 
of the British Crown, producing his commission as Lieutenant- 

The Maoris were no parties to this coup d'etat, which set 
aside the Waitangi declaration of 1835. An appeal for annexa- 
tion had been made to the British Crown three years before ; 
but this proceeded from English settlers and traders, with a 
few missionary signatures added — no Maori name figured on 
the document. It was all-important to gain the consent of 
the Natives to the setting up of the British flag. Fortunately 
this was secured. 

On the advice of the Bay of Islands Missionaries, Captain 
Hobson summoned another meeting of the chiefs at Waitangi, 
which was held on February 6, 1840, and attended by forty-six 
principal chiefs and 500 of lower rank. The leading Europeans 
— settlers and Missionaries — of the Bay of Islands, Ironside 
and Warren of the Wesley an Mission, and the Roman Bishop 
Pompalher were present. Henry Williams acted as interpreter 
and mediator in the negotiations. The Native chiefs were at 
first divided in opinion. Hone Heke protested against the 
sacrifice of independence, and others followed ; but Waikati 
Nene, supported by Patuone, carried the assembly with him 
in his argument for a peaceful union with the British Empire. 
In the end the chiefs resolved unanimously to acknowledge 
the sovereignty of Queen Victoria and to accept the status 
of British subjects, while the British Government recognized 
the authority of the Maori chiefs over their people, and their 
ov/nership of the island and all existing property, subject to 
the right of pre-emption on the part of the Government cover- 
ing land sales. Upon these lines the Treaty of Waitangi was 
drawn up, and signed by all the leading chiefs present, Hone 
Heke leading the way. This agreement forms the basis of 
the political constitution of New Zealand. 

The treaty was defective in two respects ; it assigned to the 
chiefs the position of landlords in a sense unknown to Maori 


law and injurious to the tribal constitution ; and the Maori 
signatures represented only the northern half of the North 
island, the southern tribes having no voice in the decision. 
The Missionaries, to whose influence the settlement was due, 
secured the acquiescence of the more important of the outlying 
chiefs ; by tacit consent the provisions of the treaty were 
recognized throughout New Zealand. The Maori leaders who 
had put themselves under British rule were the most enlightened 
and powerful in the country, and most in contact with 
Europeans ; and their initiative was implicitly followed by 
the people. At this date, it must be observed, the fever of 
land-selling was at its height, and the Maoris were eager for 
the increase of European traffic ; they had not realized the 
extent to which they were parting with their lands, nor the 
magnitude of the coming invasion, and its consequences for 
their old way of life. As shipload after shipload of Pakeha 
landed at one chief harbour after another, and as the new- 
comers spread over the purchased areas and began to fence 
in the familiar haunts and vantage-grounds, to clear the forests 
and to guard the ports, changing the face of the country, 
restraining movement and imposing disabilities in all directions, 
British friendship assumed another aspect, and bitter resent- 
ment was awakened in the Maori breast. 

Hobson's lieutenancy became a Governorship in 1841, when 
New Zealand was put on the footing of a regular Crown colony. 
The task of its administration required strong and skilful 
hands. Governor Hobson was a kindly, upright, well-in- 
tentioned man ; but his training in the Navy had not fitted 
him for work like this, and he depended on officials who served 
him and the country ill. The Colonial Office had no firm 
grasp of the situation, and appeared chiefly anxious to avoid 
responsibility and expense. In poor health when he arrived, 
Hobson found the position beyond his mastery. Between 
the Colonial Office, the Sydney Government, the New Zealand 
Company, the Maori chiefs, his missionary advisers, 1 and his 
uncongenial executive, he was driven to distraction. The 

1 Henry Williams led the opposition to the schemes of the N.Z. Company ; he 
had exercised a strong influence at Auckland. Unfortunately he had invested largely 
in land on his private account, and so came under the suspicion — unjust in his case 
but sufficiently plausible — of business rivalry. The purchase of land by means of 
fire-arms and strong drink was a principal ground of Williams' quarrel with the com- 
pany, beside the deception that was practised. Governor Gipps, of New South 
Wales, was also opposed to the company's proceedings ; he nominated the chief New- 
Zealand officials. 


difficulties of administration were aggravated by the choice 
of Auckland for capital, which lay at the opposite end of the 
island from Port Nicholson (Wellington), the head quarters 
of the New Zealand Company, where a kind of rival Govern- 
ment sprang into existence. Worn out with grief and 
vexation, the Governor died in September, 1842. 

Captain Hobson's death left the reins of power in the hands 
of the Administrator (now becoming Acting-Governor), who 
had been a chief cause of his troubles — a man with abundance 
of vigour, but lacking in temper and judgement. Under 
Shortland's interim rule the disaster of Wairoa came about, 
the full story of which was told forty-eight years later by 
Samuel Ironside, then in charge of the Cloudy Bay Mission 
and a witness of the sorrowful events. The town of Nelson 
had been founded in 1842 on the northern shore of the Middle 
Island, where the New Zealand Company dumped down 
hundreds of emigrants with inexcusable want of foresight. 
The cultivable land near the harbour in possession of the 
Company proved to be of poor quality and limited area ; some 
better soil had to be found for the settlers. Upon this Colonel 
Wakefield, the company's New Zealand manager, made claim 
to a large and eligible estate in the Wairoa Valley not far inland 
from Nelson, sending his employes to survey the ground and 
stake it out for occupation. The two Native chiefs concerned 
lodged a protest at Nelson, and gave warning that the attempt, 
if persisted in, would be forcibly opposed. The surveyors 
arrived ; their pegs were pulled up and their huts destroyed. 
The Commissioner for the examination of land titles was 
expected shortly on the spot, and would investigate the Wairoa 
claim in due course ; Mr. Ironside begged the company's agent 
to wait his arrival, and to submit the case to him — a course 
agreed to by the Maoris. Instead of this the agent took out 
a warrant for arson against his opponents, and returned to 
the Wairoa with a posse of armed police, headed by the Magis- 
trate of Nelson, a hot-headed and blustering nominee of 
Shortland's, who loudly declared his intention to arrest the 
incriminated chiefs, openly bringing handcuffs for the purpose. 
Insult was thus added to injury, and Maori pride was stung 
to the quick. 

The chiefs appeared on the contested ground prepared for 
resistance, with a force of a hundred disciplined Natives. 


Ironside's Christian Maoris strove to interpose, their leader 
holding out his open New Testament and crying : ' Don't 
fight ! Don't fight ! This book says it is sinful to fight. The 
land has become good through the preaching of the Mis- 
sionaries ; don't make it bad again ! ' He was pushed aside. 
After a brief parley, ending with the attempt to handcuff the 
accused chiefs, the sixteen police armed with muskets pushed 
forward, and an English gun went off, apparently by accident. 
The Maoris opened fire ; the English replied, and a Maori 
woman was shot — as ill fortune would have it, the wife of one 
of the two chiefs and the daughter of the other. ■ This infuriated 
the Natives, who rushed on the little English band wielding 
their tomahawks, and overpowered them instantly. Half of 
the sixteen musketeers were cut down, and others were taken 
prisoners and killed in hot blood ; the rest fled to Nelson. 
Twenty-two "White men fell in this affray. Irreparable damage 
was done to the prestige of the new rulers ; the encounter went 
to destroy amongst the Maoris both faith in British justice 
and fear of British prowess. * The naval Commander sent 
from Sydney to investigate the Wairoa affair, when called 
upon by the Nelson authorities to deal summary punishment 
to the Natives, refused to take any such action. Even had 
the claim of the company to the estate been sound, the attempt 
at occupation pendente lite was indefensible. 

The Natives concerned in the fight fled from the district in 
fear of vengeance, but they were not pursued. A violent fer- 
ment took place amongst the Maoris on both sides of Cook's 
Strait ; had they risen in a body, a general massacre of Euro- 
peans would have resulted. The infant colonies of Port 

1 The father was Rauparata, the son-in-law Rahaetai. Rauparata was a 
notorious cannibal and freebooter. He had played in the South Island some years 
before this date a part resembling that of Hongi in the North, and to his name some 
of the blackest stories in Maori tradition are attached. Both men escaped punish- 
ment on this occasion ; but they remained at enmity with the Government, and 
suffered disaster in subsequent collisions. Bad as Rauparata's record was, there is 
ground to believe that he had right on his side in the Wairoa quarrel. Commissioner 
Span bore testimony to the remarkable straightforwardness and honesty of the 
Maoris in these land disputes, with which the chicanery practised by many of the 
Whites stood in melancholy contrast. 

* Saunders, in his History of New Zealand, which we have quoted several times, 
gives a full account of the Wairoa conflict, in close agreement with the statements 
of Ironside reported by Morley. Saunders was living in Nelson at the time ; he 
claims to have been the first passenger to land from the first emigrant-ship which 
reached the shore. He formed an unfavourable estimate both of Colonel Wakefield, 
the manager, and of Captain Arthur Wakefield, who was in charge of the company's 
affairs at Nelson — brothers of E. G. Wakefield. The former he regards as incompetent 
rather than dishonest. 


Nicholson and Nelson, badly organized and without military 
defence, lay for the moment at the mercy of the Natives, who 
had a supply of fire-arms and were trained in no despicable 
fashion. Flushed with the easy victory at the Wairoa River, 
several of the heathen chiefs urged a general attack. Their 
design was prevented by the Christian converts, who now 
formed a considerable proportion of the Native population. 
To this interposition and to the influence of Octavius Hadfield 
and Samuel Ironside, the Anglican and Methodist Missionaries 
of the districts bordering on the Strait, the settlements owed 
their preservation. The Cloudy Bay Mission, up to this time 
prosperous and full of promise, reporting at its maximum 800 
Church members, 1 had to be closed in consequence of the 
dispersal of the people ensuing on the rebellion. Ironside was 
removed to Wellington, a Native Preacher being left in charge 
of the remnant on the coast. 

The new Governor, Fitzroy, arrived in December, 1843, to 
find the colony in an almost desperate situation. The treasury 
was empty, the civil officials unpaid, the emigrants destitute, 
the Natives clamouring for redress ; business was at a stand- 
still. Like his predecessor, this gentleman was a naval officer 
with little aptitude for the duties imposed upon him. His 
policy was that of the high hand ; he assumed toward the 
chiefs a threatening attitude, which provoked rather than 
frightened them. Government had arrested land sales since 
the Treaty of Waitangi, with a view to stop the scandals of the 
open market, intending that future dealings should pass 
through its own hands ; but its poverty forbade immediate 
purchases, and more than enough land had been sold to meet 
legitimate wants, could it only be taken out of the grasp of the 
forestallers. The chiefs, however, still wishful to sell, were 
angry at the closing of their market. They were further 
chagrined by the customs duties which had been imposed 
under Hobson's regime in the attempt to meet financial deficit. 
These were so severe as to strangle seaborne trade. The 
Natives keenly resented the imposition. Ruinous taxation, it 
appeared, was the chief ' privilege ' conferred by British rule ! 
Fitzroy endeavoured to remove the principal grievance by 
allowing the Natives to sell their land subject to a charge upon 

1 Shortly before this date Ironside's Native flock had built by their own labours 
a chapel of the estimated value of £1,500, which cost the Missionary Society no more 
than £40. 


the purchaser for Crown Grant and title ; but the royalty was 
fixed at a rate prohibitive except in the case of the highest- 
priced areas. 

These causes of complaint occasioned lively and widespread 
discontent ; a general disappointment followed the setting-up 
of British Government. Its inefficiency, loudly proclaimed by 
the White people themselves, was patent to Maori intelligence, 
and the able and friendly chiefs whose influence predominated 
in the North Island appeared to hold the Pakeha at their mercy, 
and smiled at the Governor's bluster. The simmering resent- 
ment broke out in the rebellion of Hone Heke and the war of 
1844-46. On July 8 of the former year this chief cut down the 
British flagstaff at Kororarika, the coastguard station on the 
Bay of Islands, and removed the signal-balls, by way of protest 
against the import duties. 

Hone Heke was a Maori of the new type. Educated at the 
Keri Keri School, he had imbibed English ideas and some 
Christian sympathies. At the same time he was a high-spirited 
patriot, and possessed intellectual capacity and powers of 
leadership developed by European instruction. His wife, who 
had, like himself, received missionary training, was daughter to 
the famous Hongi. Leader of the opposition at the Waitangi 
Conference of 1840, Hone Heke had signed the Treaty, like 
some other chiefs, against his previous convictions. Now he 
rued his consent ; he and his people, he protested, had been 
deceived ; the British promises were broken, and the rights of 
the Maoris trampled upon. There was a measure of justice in 
his complaints, and sympathy was felt for him by many opposed 
to the rebellion. The Governor sent for soldiers to Sydney, 
though warned of the provocative effect of this step by the 
loyal chiefs, who undertook to deal themselves with Hone 
Heke and minimized the significance of the outbreak. The 
Legislative Council, taking alarm, reduced the land royalty 
(from 10s. to id. per acre !), and substituted for the obnoxious 
duties an income-tax (which proved equally objectionable in 
another direction) ; they advised the return of the soldiers to 
Sydney. These vacillations and revulsions in policy discredited 
the Government even more than its blunders ; they revealed 
the absence of settled principles and of firm guidance at the 

Refusing to make amends, in the following January Hone 


Heke was proclaimed a rebel, the Governor offering a reward 
of £100 for his apprehension. This drove him to madness — it 
was ' offering to buy him like a pig ! ' He was joined by an 
older chief named Rawati, a renowned fighter, who brought a 
large accession to his force. Auckland was threatened with 
attack. Hone Heke rushed the blockhouse guarding the 
Customs Station at Kororarika, captured the neighbouring 
European settlement, and made a number of prisoners, whom 
he treated like a gallant adversary. Saunders declares that 
throughout this bloody day ' the chivalrous generosity of Heke 
and his followers ' was conspicuous ; not a single woman or 
child was injured. Bishop Selwyn, who was allowed to move 
freely amongst the enemy, testified warmly to their good 
conduct. Christians as well as heathen were in the ranks of 
the rebels. As at the Wairoa River, the little British force was 
badly handled. 

The capital was now in serious danger. Headed by Waka 
Nene, who took the field against his fellow countrymen, the 
Christian chiefs of the North drove back the rebels. Nene 
begged the Governor to leave the business to the loyal Maoris, 
but British pride would not stoop to this. A new force was 
hastily gathered of 350 soldiers and volunteers — too few for 
the purpose — and in April an attempt was made to storm Hone 
Heke's pah, which was defeated with heavy loss. He strength- 
ened his fortifications, and the war dragged on. Fitzroy 
was recalled by the Imperial Government before the end of this 
year, and Sir George Grey, transferred from South Australia, 
took his place. Gradually the ship of state was righted, and 
Grey's eight years' administration set New Zealand affairs upon 
a creditable and even prosperous footing. The war was ended 
by the capture of the rebel fortress in January, 1846. The 
vanquished Maoris were treated handsomely ; their clean 
fighting had won the respect of their enemies. 

Their lands were restored ; they were treated with confidence, and 
for the rest of their lives were as faithful in their allegiance as they had 
been noble in their resistance to foreign dominion (Saunders). 

In the manner of concluding this unhappy struggle Sir George 
Grey retrieved the blunders of his predecessors. Hone Heke 
died two years later, a broken-hearted man. 

Sir George Grey saved the colony from imminent ruin ; he 


could not avert the racial struggle for which events were 
making. He laid himself out to conciliate the Maoris ; he learnt 
their language and acquainted himself with their legends. He 
had formed a high estimate of their capabilities. He encouraged 
Maori intercourse with Europeans, and insisted at all points on 
just dealing and consideration towards them. A strong 
personal attachment bound together the Governor, Waka 
Nene, and Te Whero Whero, the great Waikato leader, who 
was afterwards the Native King. The last-named, in his prime, 
was a genuine statesman, distinguished by rare personal 
dignity, a calm temper, and a sound judgement. His whole 
weight was thrown on the side of moderation in the earlier 
troubles. Grey was bent on ' hastening the exchange of the 
restless, savage customs ' of the Natives ' for the blessings and 
luxuries of peace, law, and order.' He freely advanced money 
to promote the improvements amongst them, which, says 
Saunders, was always honestly repaid. 

His detractors stigmatized the Governor's open-handedness 
as ' a sugar-and-blanket policy,' but in his hands it proved 
successful and economical. On the Maori side there were those 
who held aloof, nursing their resentments, and who regarded 
the Government liberalities as baits and bribes. In disaffected 
minds the conviction was sown which, once firmly rooted, 
spread like an evil, poisonous weed — that the land-sellers had 
sold their country to the foreigners. The constant influx of 
colonists, their undreamed-of numbers, their exclusive occupa- 
tion of the best districts, and the wealth they drew out of the 
soil, heaped fresh fuel unceasingly on the flame of indignation 
in the breast of the Maori irreconcilables during the thriving 
years of Grey's governorship. 

Toward the end of the forties the colonists began to find 
themselves cramped for want of space. x The chiefs were less 
and less willing to sell ; and a cry was raised for the confiscation 
or enforced sale of unoccupied land in Native possession. 
Measures for this purpose were actually drafted by the Colonial 
Office ; their execution was only prevented by the strongest 
protests on the part of the Governor, supported by the 

1 A great part of the land secured in the first rush had been bought by capitalists, 
who locked it up with a view to future increment of value, or held it foi the mere 
pride of owning great estates. The land-monopolists, acting the part of the dog in the 
mar.ger, to whose greed the war was largely due, have been drastically dealt with 
by the legislation of the N.Z. Parliament of recent years. 


Missionaries. Such a step, they showed, abrogating the Treaty 
of Waitangi, would be a glaring breach of faith certain to entail 
a race- war throughout the islands. In 1848 Dr. Beecham 
addressed, on behalf of the Missionary Committee, a clear and 
outspoken memorandum to the Colonial Secretary to this effect. 
The instructions thus complained of were withdrawn. At the 
same time the Colonial Government found the opportunity to 
buy up a large unused area in the South Island, ' by the alloca- 
tion of which the strain for the present was relieved. But the 
chiefs had taken notice of the agitation against their land rights, 
and the fears of encroachment thus aroused did not subside. 
Writing from Hokianga, Hobbs notes in 1851 the disposition of 
the Natives to move from place to place and cultivate patches 
of land, now at this spot, now at that, which they exhausted by 
continuous cropping, in order to assert their title to their 
widely spread holdings — a habit rendering them practically 
homeless, and fatal to religious training and progress in civilized 

In 1852, before Sir George Grey's administration ended, the 
New Zealand Company was dissolved by Act of Parliament, but 
the evil of its early misdoings lived long after it. The last 
achievement of Grey's administration was the introduction of 
representative Government in 1853. An elected House of 
Representatives was constituted, balanced by a nominated 
Upper House, which perpetuated the old Legislative Council. 
The names of the six provinces — Auckland, New Plymouth, 
Wellington (in the North Island) ; Nelson, Canterbury, Otago 
(in the South) — indicate the distribution at this date of the 
European settlements, whose population now amounted to 
close upon 32,000, brought together in thirteen years of immi- 
gration. Sir George Grey sailed for England in December, 
1853. James Buller sums up his work in terms of eulogy for 
his great ability, his sympathetic nature, and warm interest in 
the Natives ; but he regards his administration as that of a 
benevolent 'autocrat, who ' failed ' to build up ' institutions 
suitable to the peculiar condition of the Natives,' and whose 
' influence therefore ceased ' with his personal presence. * 

1 This was previously called the ' Middle Island,' but the name ' South ' came 
into use for convenience. The southernmost of the three islands of the group (Stewart 
Island) is comparatively insignificant. 

1 See Forty Years in New Zealand, p. 387. Saunders reviews Grey's career with 
almost unqualified admiration. 


During the interregnum pending the arrival of the new 
Governor, Sir Thomas Gore Brown (who landed in September, 
1855), the first Parliament met at Auckland. Its meeting was 
signalized by an unseemly conflict between the Acting Governor 
and the Representative Assembly, in which the opposition was 
led by Gibbon Wakefield, who, now that his company was 
wound up, had planted himself in the colony. A violent out- 
break of faction thus marked the beginning of New Zealand's 
political fife, shaking the ill-compacted social fabric. The new 
Governor was not the man to reconcile the jarring elements. 

allowed his personal friends to urge him to action in which the imperial, 
the Maori, and the colonial interests were all fatally sacrificed, . . . 
taking the first false steps which proved so costly to England and to 
both races in New Zealand. 1 

The Natives, already vexed by the removal of Grey, their 
protector, took fresh alarm at his successor's proclamations ; 
their landed possessions, they were persuaded, were more in 
danger than ever. 

The fear and disquiet took expression in two movements, 
at first disconnected, whose joint operation issued in the great 
war of 1860-70. In 1853 a Land League was formed in the 
Taranaki district of Maoris binding themselves to resist the 
further selling of the soil to foreigners. Its action led before 
long to a tribal conflict in which the would-be seller was defeated 
and killed, the Government looking idly on. The idea of the 
League spread rapidly ; all the elements of race-antagonism 
and land-jealousy, embittered by the memory of old wrongs, 
were gathered into it. Clan-feuds were revived ; boycotting 
and murder were resorted to by the more turbulent spirits ; 
the League grew into a dangerous nationalist conspiracy. 
Many Christian Natives enrolled themselves in it ; many more 
sympathized with its aims, and thought it high time to make 
a stand for the people's rights in the soil. 

In the wake of this agitation the notion of a Maori monarchy 
sprang up. Tribal division, and the lack of a common head, 
had been the weakness of the race from the beginning. The 
example of the British Empire, and the lessons of the Old 
Testament, presented a new ideal. While inter-tribal life 

1 Saunders' History of New Zealand, pp. 319-20. 


was full of rivalry and disorder, British rule failed to remedy 
its defects. The foreign law unsettled Native customs, and 
yet was feebly and uncertainly enforced ; mal-administration 
and miscarriages of justice were notorious. The better-minded 
amongst the older Maoris were shocked by the demoralization 
of the youth, who were learning the vices without the re- 
straints of civilization, and scoffed at paternal authority. 
The wish to guard their children, amongst whom physical 
degeneracy was setting in, and in particular to protect them 
from strong drink, ■ was a motive contributory to the inception 
of the King Movement. The circle of Waikato chiefs with 
whom it originated were at the outset loyal men, many of them 
pupils and friends of the Missionaries ; their aim was to supple- 
ment, not to supplant, the British sovereignty, to establish 
an effective and legitimate imperium in imperio. ' The brain 
and organizer of the movement was Tamihana (Thompson),' 
a young man of European education and high character, 
representing the flower of Maori culture. 1 After long 
negotiations and assurances of peaceful purpose given to the 
Government, Te Whero Whero was elected King Potatau of 
the Maoris by a great assembly held in the Waikato Valley 
at the centre of the North Island in 1856. This ' wonderfully 
able ' man (as Saunders calls him), who had been a personal 
friend and ally of Sir George Grey, was now fast ageing, and 
died in a few months after his election ; he had been chosen 
against his will, overborne by the insistence of his juniors. 3 
Upon the setting up of the King there followed the establish- 
ment of a Court, with military guards and royal etiquette, 
the independent promulgation of laws and appointment of 
the magistrates, and the declaration of a boundary line beyond 
which the Queen's Writ should not run. When things had 
come to this pass war was inevitable. 

The definite rupture came about through the taking up by 
the Maori Government of the Waitara land quarrel in i860. 4 

1 The protective legislation of Government, in this and in kindred matters, was 
wholly inadequate ; the statutory prohibitions were, to a great extent, a dead letter. 

2 See Morley's History, p. 161. 

3 The son who succeeded to Te Whero Whero was weak and pliable, and fell into 
bad hands. 

4 The Waitara River, rising in the Waikato country, reaches the sea a little north 
of New Plymouth, midway on the west coast of the North Island. The Waitara 
Valley was the centre of a widely influential Methodist Mission, under the care of 
John Whiteley. On this ground the third Native Institution for the training of 
Preachers and Teachers had been recently planted. 


These events carry us beyond the limit of the present work 
(1855), but their causes lay much farther back. The Waitara 
dispute was one of quite an ordinary kind. Land was sold 
to the Government by a sub-chief, whose ownership was in 
dispute. The seller was murdered by Land Leaguers. With- 
out inquiry into the disputed title ' Government took possession 
while it proceeded against the murderers, whose apprehension 
was resisted. The Waikato King sent troops to the help of 
the rebels. So the ten years' war began which desolated the 
provinces of Taranaki and Waikato and destroyed the Native 
churches. For the time the prosperity of the islands was 
wrecked ; the colony was saddled with debt ; the progress of 
the Maoris was thrown back for a generation. Ten thousand 
British troops were employed to crush forces rarely amount- 
ing to half their number under arms. Avoiding open 
encounters, the rebels kept up a guerilla warfare amongst the 
forests and in the mountainous interior, swooping down in 
raids on the coast-settlements where opportunity offered. 

It was in one of these attacks that John Whiteley fell in 1869 
near New Plymouth, when going his rounds of visitation, as 
he had done fearlessly throughout the conflict. He was on 
his way, unawares, to an English house which the raiding 
party had just sacked, murdering the family. He was 
challenged as he approached. ' Go back, Whiteley,' cried a 
voice, ' your place is not here.' ' My place is here,' he replied, 
' where my children are doing evil ! ' and he rode in. Then 
shots rang out. First his horse fell, and the old man kneeled 
in prayer beside it ; the next volley killed him. By a strange 
irony the captain of the troop was named Honi Weteri (John 
Wesley by baptism). A better friend of the Maoris than John 
Whiteley never lived ; and they knew it. His death spread 
dismay and lamentation amongst the insurgents ; it was a 
principal factor in bringing about the cessation of the struggle, 
which ensued in the following year. As time went on the war 
had assumed a character of exasperation. The chivalry of 
Hone Heke was thrown aside ; the Maoris reverted to heathen 
and savage practices, and atrocious deeds were committed. When 
the rebels at last laid down their arms, it was in sullen exhaustion. 

1 The title on which this land was sold was subsequently admitted by the Govern- 
ment to be invalid, and an offer was made to cancel the bargain. But it was too 
late. This was after Sir George Grey had been replaced in the Governorship (1861) 
with the hope of mollifying the Maoris. 


The rebellion had been apparently on the point of 
collapsing in 1863, when the smouldering fire was fanned into 
a blaze by the rise of the Hau-hau fanaticism — so named from 
the barking cry of its votaries in their dances. This was an 
amalgam of Bible traditions and Romanist teaching with 
heathen devilry, making up ' one of the most disgusting and 
terrible superstitions that ever found lodgement in diseased 
brain or perverted heart.' Its originator, a crazy Taranaki 
Native, gave himself out as a medium of the angel Gabriel. 
He promised to his followers invulnerability — they would 
drive the Pakeha into the sea ! They killed an English military 
captain and preserved his head as a fetish, which they carried 
round the villages, professing to divine by it. A blasphemous 
liturgy was invented and an orgiastic worship introduced which 
revived the latent savagery of the Maori nature. Hau-hauism 
has so much of Christian colouring that it might be regarded 
as a Maori heresy. It swept thousands of the less stable 
missionary converts into backsliding, in which their last state 
was worse than the first. 

This imposture supplied a kind of religion for the nationalist 
movement. The political leaders had too much intelligence 
to believe in it, but they fostered the delirium for its effect in 
rousing the popular passions. Though for the time inspired 
with a frantic energy, from that moment their cause was 
ruined. Massacres of isolated European settlements and 
orgies of blood now marked the track of the Maori forays. 
Beside the revered Whiteley an Anglican Missionary named 
Volckner fell, hideously murdered, a victim to the blood-thirst 
awakened in the later stages of the war. The Hau-hau religion 
appealed to tendencies deep in the Maori nature, and did not 
die out with the cessation of the war ; it still lingers amongst 
the uncivilized Natives in the recesses of the country. 

Of the total Native population estimated in i860 — some- 
thing like 100,000 — perhaps a quarter remained loyal. The 
tribes living north of Auckland, who had first come under 
missionary influence and were more Christianized, held to the 
British flag, as did most of the southern Maoris round Welling- 
ton and beyond Cook's Strait, and many on the east of the 
North Island. The loyalist Natives gave assistance of extreme 
value, especially in the closing movements of the war, which 
was terminated in fact by a force of colonial volunteers and 


Maori auxiliaries, when the British regulars had been with- 
drawn. But the cause of religion suffered amongst the loyal 
Maoris only less than amongst the rebels. Their minds were 
unhinged by the excitement of the time, and their morals 
suffered from association with the White soldiers. The Native 
pastors, in almost every instance, proved steadfast ; but a 
number of Local Preachers and Church officers were led astray. 
At the end of the war the Maori Church membership was but 
a fifth of its former figure ; the remnant were dispirited and 
wellnigh hopeless for the future of their race. 

For ten years or more the defeated Maoris held aloof, retreat- 
ing into the woods and mountains and shunning intercourse 
with the foreigner. The lands held formerly by the chiefs 
were confiscated on a large scale. But in the eighties they 
began to yield to kindly overtures. Coming out of their 
hiding-places, they entered into European employment, 
resumed the cultivation of their fields, and sent their children 
again to school. Their natural cleverness and business aptitude 
enabled them to recover lost ground. They took the place 
offered them in the political life of the State ; and the Maoris 
now elect, under manhood suffrage, four delegates to the New 
Zealand House of Commons, allotted in proportion to their 
numbers. 1 They have statedly a representative sitting in 
the Cabinet. Colour-prejudice is dying down in the country ; 
mutual respect and a real friendship appear to have taken 
its place. Honourable inter-marriage is fairly frequent, and 
it seems likely that the races will blend in the future New 
Zealand constituency. * At the Dardanelles a troop of Maori 
volunteers fought shoulder to shoulder with the bravest 
of the British. ' We are all proud of our Maoris,' said a New 
Zealand officer visiting England to the writer the other day. 
The Native constitution seems to be at length acclimatized 
to the new atmosphere, and is surmounting the diseases, moral 
and physical, incident to the contact of a barbarous people 
with civilization ; the latest statistics show a turn in the tide 
of population, and encourage the hope that this noble Native 
race will ' not die, but live, to declare the doings of Jehovah.' 

1 The Native voters are not merged amongst the Whites, but form four separate 
constituencies. The Maori Members of Parliament are on precisely the same footing 
as the rest, and hold their own with marked ability. This arrangement is said to 
work excellently. 

* The Whites now outnumber the Browns by nearly twenty to one. 


The change in the social and political outlook of the Maoris 
which has come about in the last thirty years may be traced 
to the renewal, gradually effected, of their Christian faith. 
The Missionaries, always their best friends, sought them out, 
and gradually conquered their sullenness and brought them 
out into the light. The group of elder Missionaries, whose 
names appeared in the last chapter, had most of them ceased 
from their labours, through death or retirement or withdrawal 
to other fields, before the war closed, having suffered the 
unspeakable grief of seeing the harvest they had sown, once 
so full of promise, blighted and trampled. Never could the 
glow and the romance of the springtime of New Zealand 
Missions be revived. 

James Buller and Thomas Buddie were the only leaders of 
the early time left to take up the work of reconstruction. For 
ten or fifteen years after 1870 the task was one of some difficulty 
and disappointment ; broken by defeat and unreconciled in 
heart, the Maoris were slow to resume the old relations, even 
with men they had counted as fathers. The former Native 
Methodist Circuits were reduced to two or three Missions, 
superintended by English Ministers, including a number of 
widely scattered Stations, at which Native Preachers were 
planted out. James Watkin's work in the Otago Province 
of the South Island, through its distance from the seat of war, 
had suffered comparatively little, and the Mangungu Circuit — 
the mother Mission of the North Island, not far remote from 
Auckland — was never broken up, though its operations declined 
and its membership was shrunken. 

Several men had joined the New Zealand Mission since the 
coming of the group last named in the previous chapter, who 
devoted themselves manfully to the Maori work during this 
distressful time, holding together the elect remnant in the 
days of apostasy and building up the waste places when the 
calamity was overpast. Around these chief shepherds and 
the Native Pastors who had stood faithful the scattered flocks 
were gathered again, in diminished numbers, but with a faith 
tried in adversity. 

Amongst the signal events of Lawry's superintendency, had 
been the opening of the Native Institution at Three Kings, 
near Auckland, for the higher training of Maori youths— a 
foundation which, after some vicissitudes and a temporary 


closure during the war, flourishes to this day, taking a high 
place in the educational life of the colony. Alexander Reid 
— a man of Scotch Presbyterian birth and a trained teacher, 
distinguished by the intensity and throughness, the sympathetic 
care and the practical ability, characteristic of his rearing — 
was sent out from England in 1848 to organize this college, 
over which he presided for ten years. Two other establish- 
ments were set up on similar lines farther south during the 
fifties — the Grey Institute, near New Plymouth, and the Kai 
Iwi Institute, in the Wanganui Valley — which throve well 
until the war brought them to an end. Reid understood the 
Maoris as few men did, and had a great influence with them. 
If any human power could have prevented the outbreak of 
the war, he and John Whiteley would have done so. Reid 
was a powerful preacher, as well as a skilled teacher and 
administrator ; he was much admired in the Auckland pulpit, 
and respected everywhere by the colonists. 

William Kirk — a typical Lincolnshire man, of quiet good 
sense and perfect temper, a charming preacher and winning 
evangelist — arrived a year earlier than Reid. He spent 
fifteen years in the Native work, becoming a master of the 
Maori tongue and Maori heart, and doing pioneer service of 
the most arduous kind. His wife, a daughter of John Hobbs, 
was a missionary help-meet. The contraction of the Native 
work caused by the war occasioned his transference to the 
colonial Circuits, in which he saw abundant fruit of his ministry. 
Kirk lived to an honoured old age, and was amongst the early 
Presidents of the New Zealand Conference. 

Cort Henry Schnackenberg and William Gittos are counted 
along with Reid and Kirk as saviours of the Maori Mission. 
The former, a German by birth who had come to New Zealand 
in the capacity of a traders' agent, was converted under 
Whiteley's influence. For nine years he laboured as a Catechist 
amongst the Natives, and in 1853 was put into the ministry. 
He held without shrinking the most dangerous outposts during 
the war, and after its close toiled with admirable patience and 
gentleness among the broken, ill-conditioned Natives. Though 
a comparatively poor English speaker, his sympathy made 
him wonderfully at home with the Maoris, and he was faithful 
to their cause unto death. 

Still more notable was the work of William Gittos, who was 


brought up at Hokianga and married the second daughter of 
John Hobbs. He entered the Maori work a little later than 
Schnackenberg. Gittos ' literally lived for the Maori people, 
being their trusted adviser in things temporal as well as 
spiritual ' ; and his wife was one with him in this respect. 
These two were reckoned the most perfect masters of the Native 
language in the islands. Gittos was spared to give a long life 
to the redemption of the people he loved. He carried the 
Gospel into the Waikato country after the war. In later years 
he was made Superintendent of Maori Missions for the Auck- 
land District, and played an influential part in the revival of 
Maori Christianity and civilization. 

Henry H. Lawry (son of Walter Lawry), educated at Kings- 
wood School, joined the Mission on his father's appointment 
to Auckland, at the sacrifice of flattering prospects in London. 
A superior Maori scholar and a good Missionary, Henry Lawry 
stood by the Native cause through its darkest hours, a pillar 
of strength. Though ill-health enforced an early super- 
numeraryship upon him, he lived to see days of sunshine 
return for his beloved Maoris. 

James Watkin's son, William J. Watkin — a teacher at Three 
Kings and at Kai Iwi, received into the ministry in 1857 — 
deserves to be remembered in this connexion. He was an 
excellent bilingual preacher and a wise and kindly man, and 
made himself a link between the hostile races. 

The development of English Colonial Methodism in New 
Zealand followed the lines already traced in the chapters 
relating to North America and Australia. It is sufficient to 
indicate its general course. Here colonial work was super- 
imposed on the Native Mission ; men preoccupied and over- 
tasked in the evangelization of the heathen had the care of a 
host of immigrants cast upon them. They met the new re- 
sponsibility nevertheless with promptness and efficiency. 
Their work was facilitated by the fact that most of the early 
companies of settlers included Methodists eager to clasp a 
brotherly hand, who supplied a nucleus for English Societies 
and Circuits. New Zealand, like Scotland or Greece, is a 
country of high mountain ranges and deep sea inlets, affording 
many gates of access for the sea-voyager, while communication 
by land is obstructed and difficult. Hence its occupation 
began from a number of centres lying far apart ; the settlements 


formed a cluster of colonies, and not a continuous whole. 
No central emporium, like Sydney in New South Wales or 
Melbourne in Victoria, dominated New Zealand ; nor has the 
city life here assumed the proportions to which it has grown 
in Australia. 

Wellington (under its earlier name of Port Nicholson) was 
founded by the New Zealand Company in 1840. The site of 
Auckland was chosen for the capital a year later, and soon 
attracted a relatively large English population ; geographical 
convenience dictated the removal later of the seat of Govern- 
ment to the rival centre. But Auckland has always held 
the superiority in point of numbers and commercial importance. 
New Plymouth, under the shadow of Mount Egmont, at the 
westernmost point of the North Island, and Nelson standing 
on the south shore of Cook's Strait opposite Wellington, 
sprang up in the early forties. From both these bases 
colonists spread over the rich agricultural hinterland ; 
neither of them has gathered a large population of its 
own. The former town suffered severely from the Maori 

The chief cities of the South Island are Christchurch and 
Dunedin, which were founded in the later forties under other 
auspices than those of the New Zealand Company. They 
were experiments in sectarian colonization — the former pro- 
moted by an Anglican, the latter by a Presbyterian Associa- 
tion — designed as preserves of their respective Churches. In 
both cases the attempt at religious isolation broke down ; 
Methodism found an early home alike in Christchurch, with 
its province of Canterbury, and in Dunedin, the capital of 
Otago. In the latter province the Wesleyan Mission had 
previously taken root amongst the Natives. The six English 
Circuits formed at the above-named centres appeared on the 
Stations of 1854 — the last year of the Missionary Society's 
official connexion over the islands. At this date the White 
Methodist Society membership in New Zealand numbered 
about 500 — enough to supply a definite basis for the Colonial 
Church ; the Maori membership was then eight times as large. 
These proportions were thereafter to be reversed. The 
Missionaries showed great alertness in meeting the new-comers 
and making provision for their spiritual wants ; no settlement 
of any size existed long without their finding opportunity to 


bring or send to it the Gospel. On board almost every emigrant 
ship some Local Preacher or Class-leader was to be found, 
armed with his credentials — often more than one ; nowhere in the 
world have those servants of Christ been more laborious and 
faithful than they were in the early days of these colonies. New 
Zealand Methodism owes its foundation to the great lay orders 
of our Church almost as much as does that of North America 
or Australia. It fell to James Buller, as things happened, to 
witness the first landing of immigrants both at Wellington, 
in the far south, and at Auckland, in the north, and to form 
the first Societies in each of these capitals. At Auckland the 
earliest English services were held in a saw-pit, at Wellington 
in a corner of the Maori chapel. With a view to the English 
work John Aldred was stationed at the latter place in 1841, 1 
while Ironside was Missionary to the Maoris. Aldred built 
up a solid working Church amongst the incoming people. 
Buller visited Auckland from his Native Station at Kaipara, 
and provided for English preaching there as well as he could, 
until the appointment of Superintendent Lawry in 1844 gave 
to Methodism in that town the leadership it required. From 
this time the Auckland Church grew rapidly, counting in its 
service many of the most energetic and capable laymen in the 
city and district. Auckland Methodism benefited not a little 
by the establishment within its bounds of the Three Kings 
and Wesley College and through the attractions it offered to 
veteran Missionaries like Hobbs and Wallis, who spent their 
years of retired but still fruitful ministry amid the delightful 
scenery and the genial society there to be found. 

At the landing of the men of Cornwall and Devon who 
founded New Plymouth, in March, 1841, Charles Creed, the 
first resident Missionary to the Taranaki Natives, was on the 

1 During his ministry at Wellington Aldred visited the Chatham Islands, where 
in the six months of his sojourn he had remarkable success amongst the Natives. 
He left a little Church behind him on departing, of which a Maori Minister was sent 
to take charge ; the devoted Hone Eketone (John Eggleston) ' travelled ' there for 
several years, aiid ' Chatham Islands ' figured on the Wesleyan Stations. The 
Chatham Group was occupied at this period by a band of Maori filibusters, who not 
long before had seized on an English ship near Port Nicholson and compelled the 
captain to transport them thither. They slaughtered the peaceful Morion inhabitants 
or reduced them to slavery. Now, however, many of them and of their bondsmen 
received the Gospel. Some years later the New Zealand Government annexed the 
islands and liberated the Morioris from their oppressive masters. The bulk of the 
Maoris subsequently returned to New Zealand and the Wesleyan Minister was with- 
drawn. The Aborigines had dwindled to a mere handful, but the seed of the Gospel 
sown by Aldred continued to live amongst this remnant. There are a few British 
settlers on these out-of-the-way islets. 


shore to welcome them. This company included a particularly 
strong Methodist contingent, and our Church took a leading 
place in New Plymouth from the outset. This colony bore 
the brunt of the Maori war. The New Plymouth Circuit was 
the scene of the martyrdom of John Whiteley, and many 
settlers of the surrounding district fell in the long struggle ; 
early in its course the wives and children of the town were 
removed to Nelson. Not till thirty years after the birth of 
the settlement did prosperity come to this lovely region, now 
known as ' the garden of New Zealand.' 

Reference has been already made to the origin of the Nelson 
colony, the worst sufferer from the misdoings of the New 
Zealand Company. This community produced, partly in 
consequence of its early trials and struggles, an exceptional 
number of men who rose to eminence in public affairs. John 
Aldred was the father of the Church at Nelson. Samuel Iron- 
side, indeed, was Missionary at Cloudy Bay near by when the 
settlers landed ; the dispersal of his Native flock had, however, 
compelled him to remove, and Nelson for some time was with- 
out a Methodist pastor. But before Aldred's visit (from Port 
Nicholson) a Local Preacher named Hough — a man of extra- 
ordinary gifts and energy — commenced to preach in the town, 
and gathered round him a Methodist circle ready to be formed 
into a regular Society. Aldred was brought across the Strait 
in 1843 to labour here ; with the help of Hough and other 
capable laymen he established a vigorous Church at Nelson, 
with a wide Circuit radiating from it. 

The ' Canterbury pilgrims ' (as the fathers of Christchurch 
were called) had been chosen on the recommendation of their 
parish Clergymen. Some of the people thus certificated were 
Methodists, and they claimed on landing (in 1849), and after 
some demur secured liberty for, their own worship. » The little 
isolated Society reported itself to Wellington, and Christchurch, 
with its harbour Lyttelton, was put on the Circuit-plan of that 
town, two hundred miles distant across the water. A Local 
Preacher bearing the Cornish name of Nankivell was the first 
to occupy the pulpit regularly here. James Watkin, the Maori 
Missionary of Otago to the south, paid occasional visits to the 

1 The story goes that the little group betrayed themselves, while the vessel was 
still in the English Channel, by holding a prayer-meeting. The officials were in 
consternation ; and it was debated whether the ship should not put in at Plymouth 
10 land these dangerous dissenters and ' purge out ' the Methodist ' leaven.' 


Christchurch and Lyttelton Society. Aldred, who had a genius 
for founding colonial Circuits, and had already done the same 
work at Wellington and Nelson, in 1854 took charge of Canter- 
bury in turn. He had been appointed to this station a year 
earlier, but his coming was delayed ; meanwhile William Kirk 
was detained on his way to the Otago Mission tb shepherd the 
growing flock. Undisturbed by the Maori war, and receiving 
a constant influx of agricultural settlers of an excellent type, 
this colony expanded rapidly, and the Methodist Church over- 
took its growth. The Canterbury District has taken a foremost 
place in New Zealand Methodism. 

When the Dunedin settlers landed at Otago Harbour in 1848 
Methodist Missionaries had been labouring for eight years 
amongst the scattered Maoris of the neighbouring region cover- 
ing the south-east of the South Island. Charles Creed had by 
this time succeeded James Watkin in the Otago Circuit. • He 
made an early visit to the Scottish colony and its Free Kirk 
Minister, who was a leader of the enterprise. Friendly relations 
were established. Creed and his successors in the Otago Mission 
frequently preached amongst the Presbyterians. In a few years 
the door was opened at Dunedin to settlers of other persuasions, 
and a Society and Circuit were formed, of which Isaac Harding 
took charge as the regular Minister in 1862. Three years before 
this, in a fit of discouragement, the Maori Missionary had been 
withdrawn from Otago ; in the colony, too, our work suffered 
from this retreat. For the first twelve years the Otago colony, 
planted in a rougher country than that of Canterbury, grew but 
slowly. The discovery of gold in 1861 brought a rush of 
immigrants, with whose coming Dunedin rose to prosperity. * 
During the sixties, in the years of the Maori war, important 
discoveries of gold were also made in the west land of the South 
Island around Hokitika, and along the Thames Valley of the 

1 Waikowaiti, an old whaling-station on the coast north of Otago Harbour, was 
for long the head quarters of the Native Mission, and the Otago Circuit sometimes 
appears on the Minutes under this designation ; for some years the two are distin- 
guished, then ' Waikowaiti ' disappears. The Missionary arrangements of the South 
Island were subject to constant changes due to the disturbed and migratory state 
of the tribes. The Maori population of the South was much scantier in numbers and 
more difficult of access than that of the North Island. 

* From this epoch the Otago district lost its denominational colour. Seventy- 
eight thousand new people arrived between 1861 and 1864. The ' Old Identities ' 
and the ' New Iniquities,' as the two strata of the population were called (Morley's 
History, p. 472), were slow to fraternize. But the province retained a predominant 
Caledonian flavour, and the Free Church of Scotland is still the leading religious 


North Island. Although the New Zealand goldfields cannot 
rival those of Australia or the Transvaal, they have greatly 
stimulated the influx of immigration and given it fresh channels ; 
they remain a permanent source of wealth to the islands. 

New Zealand Methodism was embraced in the Australasian 
Conference founded in 1854 > subsequent developments have 
been indicated in a previous chapter. At that epoch the Maori 
Mission had reached its zenith, before the outbreak of the war ; 
from this time it was destined to decline, while the colonial 
work increased and the colonial membership multiplied. Within 
a few years of its foundation the Australasian Conference 
found itself confronted with a most painful and harassing 
case in the racial problem of New Zealand. The peculiar and 
strictly local character of this race question was a consideration 
which weighed on them in the decision to form a separate 
Conference for New Zealand, arrived at in the course of the 

Walter Lawry retired from the general superintendency, to 
reside at Parramatta, in 1854, when James Buller and James 
Watkin became Chairmen of the Auckland and Wellington 
Districts respectively. In the following year the elder Watkin 
removed to New South Wales, and thus closed the fifteen years 
of his strenuous New Zealand ministry. He left behind him in 
the islands a son who filled his place excellently well. Buller 
and Buddie — those wise masters in Israel — thereafter ruled the 
two island Districts for a goodly term of years. 



Polynesia — Ethnological Theories — Tonga — Political Organization 
— Character of Inhabitants — Native Religion — The L.M.S. in Tonga — 
Methodist Occupation — Leigh and Lawry — An unfulfilled Hope. 

The islands of the Pacific Ocean were the realm of fable for 
the eighteenth century. Its waters generated the South Sea 
Bubble of 1710-20 — the wildest speculation in the history of 
British finance, whose collapse spread ruin through the nation. 
On the same enchanted shores dwelt in paradisaic innocence 
' the noble savage ' of Rousseau and the sentimentalists, the 
imagined child of nature unspoilt by civilized conventions and 
artifice. By the end of the century these romantic illusions 
were dispelled ; the Voyages of Captain James Cook (1766-79) 
in particular furnished a definite map of Oceania, and informed 
the British reader of the true condition of the races inhabiting 
its legendary isles. These far-off peoples attracted the mis- 
sionary sympathies born of the evangelical movement. The 
spirit of Christian adventure and knight-errantry, then running 
so high, found in Polynesia an inviting field. Here were 
heathen within reach unvisited by the faintest light of the 
Gospel, at the same time untouched by the evils of civilization 
and of colonial encroachment. The glamour attaching to the 
mysterious island- world of the tropics, in whose features beauty 
and horror were strangely mingled, counted for much in this 
fascination. The London Missionary Society in 1796 sent to 
the South Sea Islands its first expedition, with tragic and yet 
glorious results. 

The work of Methodism in Polynesia commenced nearly 
thirty years later. It grew out of the Mission to the colonists 
of New South Wales, which was undertaken in 1816. From 
the first, Australia has been the basis of Methodist operations 
in the Pacific, of which for the last sixty years that country 
has borne the sole responsibility. Working from this centre, 

257 R 


the British Methodist Missionaries have addressed themselves 
to the Maoris of New Zealand, to the Friendly Islanders, with 
their kinsmen the Samoans, and to the Fijians. In recent 
times the Australian General Conference has extended 
its operations much more widely in the South Seas — to Papua 
(British New Guinea), the New Britain Group, and the Solomon 
Islands— maintaining besides a Mission full of promise in 
India, associated with that of the home Church. A Church 
membership (including probationers) not far short of 50,000 is 
now reported from the Australian Missions. 

The tropical archipelago of the Pacific, known by the name 
of Oceania, is peopled by two races differing in language, 
customs, and mental characteristics, as they do in colour and 
physiognomy. These are the brown Polynesians occupying 
the islands of the north, east, and south, and ranging in a vast 
sweep from the Ladrones round to New Zealand ; and the black 
Melanesians of the south-western groups from the Caroline 
Islands to Fiji. The latter, who are typically represented by 
the Papuans of New Guinea, belong unmistakably to the 
Negro stock : their dark skin, woolly hair, and thick lips 
identify them with the African Black Man, of whose former 
presence the vestiges are traceable along the whole south of 
the Asiatic continent ; the generic resemblance is modified by 
specific differences, due doubtless to the infusion of non-Negro 
blood. The affinities of the Polynesians are more dubious. 
Since the researches of Quatref ages it has been usual to associate 
them racially with the Malays of south-eastern Asia ; but later 
ethnologists have thrown doubt on this genealogy. Alfred 
R. Wallace, has given reasons for believing that they are 
fundamentally Caucasian and represent a primitive Indo- 
European population once dominant in the south-east of Asia 
who were driven out thence by the invading Mongols from the 
north. 1 He makes out the hairy Amos of Japan and the 
Australian Aborigines to be degraded shoots from the same 
trunk, in the latter case detached at a primaeval stage and 
crossed with a Negro race formerly tenanting Australia, whose 

1 See his Studies Scientific and Social, Vol. I., chap, xix.-xxi. Wallace calls the 
Melanesians Papuans and the Polynesians Mahoris (Maoris), naming each race from 
its most conspicuous exemplar. The late Dr. James Egan Moulton, the founder of the 
Tubou College, and a man deeply versed in Tonguese tradition and philology, arrived 
at the conclusion that the Polynesian stock to which the Tongan people belong had 
in it a decided Semitic strain, and that its primitive home was probably South 



last remnants were found in the vanished Tasmanian Natives. 
If the newer ethnological theory be correct, the Polynesians 
are remote congeners of our own. 

The Friendly Islands, situated in south-central Oceania, are 
on the border of the Polynesian area, the Fijians to the west 
of them being Melanesians. They are clustered in three 
groups strung upon a north and south axis, and spread from 
18 to 21 of south latitude and from 173 to 176 of west 
longitude. 1 They Me about 1,500 miles north by north-east 
of New Zealand, and at a somewhat greater distance due east 
of North Queensland, in Australia ; their nearest neighbours 
are the Samoan (Navigator's) Islands, 300 miles away in a 
direction north by north-east, and Fiji, nearly as far off north- 
west by west. Nearly two hundred islands are enumerated 
in the whole cluster, of which not a fourth are inhabited. The 
total land-surface is less than 400 square miles, the two largest 
islands, Tonga-tabu and Vavau, being comparable in size to the 
Isle of Wight and Guernsey. The latest census registers the 
population as under 20,000, of whom 400 are Europeans. 
Formerly the Missionaries counted the Natives at double the 
above numbers.* It may appear disproportionate to assign 
three chapters of this History to an island group whose total 
population does not exceed that of a fifth-rate Indian or Chinese 
town. The exceptional human interest attaching to the Tonga 
Mission, and the important place it filled in the development 
of the foreign work of Methodism, are our excuse for this 
extended treatment. The very limitations of the field, the 
simplicity of the problem it presented, and the relative com- 
pleteness with which its conquest was effected and heathenism 
within its bounds displaced by Christianity in the course of a 
single generation, make the story exemplary. The causes of 
success or failure in missionary enterprise, the elements of 
strength and of weakness in Methodist Missions in particular, 
are observable here more distinctly than in larger areas, and 

1 If the outlying dependencies politically associated with Tonga be included, , 
the dimensions of the Friendly Islands Group are considerably larger than is stated 

* Though the older estimates may have been exaggerated, there can be no doubt 
that the Friendly Islanders, like other Native tribes of the South Seas, have been 
decimated through the introduction of European vices and diseases, which have 
proved more destructive than the former chronic wars. It remains to be seen whether 
the people will succeed in surviving these mischiefs, whether their constitution has 
sufficient vital force to adapt itself to the perilously altered conditions, by the aid of 


under conditions more complicated. The way in which the 
light of the Gospel first strikes in upon the darkness of 
heathenism, and its effect upon individual characters and 
social institutions, are conspicuously manifest in the case of 
the Friendly Islanders, who responded quickly and generally 
to its impact ; they are exhibited on a scale, in respect both 
of place and time, which facilitates the survey and comprehen- 
sion of the achievement. This was, in fact, a typical Methodist 
Mission ; it supplied to oin Church its earliest completed lesson 
in dealing with heathenism. 

Tonga 1 (or Tonga- tabu, Holy Tonga) is the largest and most 
populous of the Friendly Islands ; it forms the main part of 
the southern cluster, as Vavau of the northern cluster (also 
called Haafulahao) ; these two groups are named from their 
principal islands. Haabai is the name of the middle cluster, 
which is by far the most numerous, but includes no island of 
outstanding size. Lifuka, situated toward the northern 
extremity of the group, supplies its capital. While Tonga-tabu 
and the Haabais generally are low and flat, exhibiting the 
coralline structure prevailing in Oceania, Vavau is almost 
mountainous, being of volcanic formation. To the east and 
north of the main clusters several volcanoes emerge from the 
ocean ; and the whole of the islands are liable to shocks of 
earthquake, not severe but often repeated. High winds pre- 
vail in these latitudes, rising not unfrequently to storms and 
occasionally to cyclones of the most terrific character, when 
Nature's habitual smiles are exchanged for a destructive rage. 
The shoals and reefs with which the surrounding seas, especially 
toward the centre of the group, are thickly set, render naviga- 
tion exceptionally hazardous. Through constant experience 
of the dangers arising from fickle winds and tortuous channels 
the Tongans have become the most skilful and daring of 
mariners ; they are called ' the hardy Norsemen ' of the 

The Friendly Islands, with the adjacent Samoan and Fijian 
groups, form the Antipodes of the African Sahara ; they 
exhibit a perfect contrast to that barren region. Here a teeming 
life and prodigal beauty are generated from the rich soil, under 
a glowing sun and a moisture-laden atmosphere. The ocean 

1 Tonga now serves to designate the Friendly Islands generally, and Tongan the 
language and people as a whole. This usage will be followed in the sequel. Tonga- 
tabu is always the single island. 


winds temper the excessive heat and dissipate miasma, yielding 
balmy airs which at most seasons it is a joy to breathe. " Insect- 
plagues abound, and the seas swarm with sharks ; but the 
islands are free from dangerous field-beasts and snakes. 
Nowhere within the tropics are conditions to be found more 
favourable to human life and health ; nowhere can life be 
sustained upon the lavish bounties of Nature with less exertion 
or hardship. 

The genial climate has produced in the islanders a race of 
magnificent physique, the flower of Polynesia, whose dress and 
carriage help to set off their handsome figures. The Tongans 
excel the Maoris in stature and build ; ethnologists put them, 
along with the Samoans, at the head of all races of mankind in 
point of bodily development. Though the breed, since it was 
first known, has suffered deterioration through intermixture 
with Fijians and with low-class Europeans, and has dwindled 
in number, it has not lost its superiority, which is exhibited in 
both sexes. A British Admiral wrote after visiting Tonga 
some years ago : 

The manly beauty of the young men is very remarkable ; one in 
particular, who had decked his hair with the flowers of the scarlet 
hibiscus, might have sat for an Antinous. 

Admiral Erskine goes on to say : 

They carry their habits of cleanliness and decency to a higher point 
than the most fastidious of civilized nations, 

in this characteristic presenting an extreme contrast to the 
original Maoris. He adds : 

Their public meetings and discussions are carried on with a dignity 
and forbearance which Europeans never equal, while even in the heat 
of war they have ever shown themselves amenable to reason and 

Lord George Campbell, in his Log-Letters from the Challenge 
(1876), gives them unstinted admiration : 

1 The climate of Tonga is much the same as that of Samoa, the home of Robert 
Louis Stevenson's later years, whose praises he has celebrated in exquisite terms. 

1 Cruises amongst the Islands of the West Pacific, by John Elphinstone Erskine 
(1853)- Erskine's voyage took place subsequently to the Christianization of Tonga. 


There are no people in the world [he writes] who strike one at first 
so much as the Friendly Islanders. Their clear, light copper-brown 
colour, their curly hair and good-humoured, handsome faces, their tout 
ensemble, formed a novel and splendid picture of the genus homo, and 
as far as physique and appearance go, they gave me certainly the 
impression of being a superior race to ours. 

Most visitors have been charmed with these people on first 
acquaintance, though longer experience proved disenchanting. 
Captain Cook pronounced them to be ' liberal, brave, open, 
and candid, without either suspicion or treachery, cruelty, or 
revenge.' x By the time the first Christian Missionaries reached 
the Tongans their disposition, which showed traits surprising 
in a race of savages, had worsened through the vicious in- 
fluence of the runaway sailors and escaped convicts who 
harboured in the islands. 

In political organization the Friendly Islanders were 
thorough-going aristocrats. Society was divided into some 
half-dozen grades, extending from the king to the slave, which 
were so fixed as to amount almost to castes. The chiefs con- 
stituted an hereditary noblesse linked by intermarriage, who 
wielded almost unlimited power over the commoners (tuas), 
and held a position much more settled and authoritative than 
that of the New Zealand chiefs. Each of the three groups of 
islands had, under one title or other, its king or chief-para- 
mount ; the king was recognized as the elective head of the 
body of chiefs. There was no strict rule of succession to the 
crown, but the king was chosen when the throne became vacant, 
out of the royal family. The three reigning families of Tonga, 
Haabai, and Vavau were connected by blood-relationship, and 
formed a single clan, so that the same sovereign — as in the case 
of King George — might come to rule over two, or even all 
three, of the little kingdoms. There was in consequence of 
this a greater unity, with more of friendly intercourse and 
communal life, amongst the Tongans than in other Oceanic 
groups. The actual power of the king depended very much 
upon his personal prowess and force of character. In the larger 
islands of Tonga-tabu and Vavau there were a number of 
principal chiefs who administered like feudal lords the 
areas about their fortified towns, and were surrounded by 

1 In the end Cook's life was plotted against by the Tongans, and he was compelled 
to modify his eulogy. 


sub-chiefs, but were bound by a general allegiance to the 

It was in keeping with the comparative refinement and 
gentler manners of the Tongans that their women enjoyed a 
large measure of freedom and were treated with a consideration 
rare amongst uncivilized peoples. l The Friendly Islanders also 
showed a respect for old age and a care for their children which 
raised them above the common barbarian level. The horrible 
crimes of infanticide and cannibalism — rife in Fiji and New 
Zealand — if not unknown, were here under the ban. The 
Tongan chiefs took many wives ; sexual intercourse and 
lascivious dances were prevalent ; but Tongan heathenism 
was comparatively free from the degrading religious customs 
of other regions. Fairly honest toward each other, and less 
cunning and treacherous than many savage tribes, the Tongans 
had small scruple about cheating foreigners or stealing from 
them ; but if their pledge was once given it might generally 
be trusted. Kindness and fair treatment they knew how to 
reciprocate. Their hospitalities were liberal and their courtesies 
graceful. The chiefs, as a class, possessed discernment of 
character and a naturally sound understanding ; they were 
not slow to appreciate the superior knowledge of Europeans 
and the higher light of their religion. The messengers of the 
Gospel, when they had mastered the language and could speak 
to the heart of the Tongans, found in them ' a people prepared 
for the Lord,' who stood on a higher level of intelligence and 
morals than many other heathen folk, and whose conscience 
was unusually susceptible to the Christian appeal. The 
Tongans share in the vivacity and impressionableness and 
good-humour distinguishing the Polynesians generally, in 
which they differ so much from the stolid Malays. Their gifts 
of expression, and their instinct for good manners, resemble 
those of the Maoris. Alike as sailors and as builders they 
notably excelled ; in other manual arts, and in agriculture, 
they are inferior to many of the Pacific Islanders, particularly 
to the Fijians. These latter, like most of the Melanesians, had 
a knowledge of pottery, an art unknown to the Polynesians. 
Both races were ignorant of the use of metals until the coming 
of Europeans. 

1 In the division of labour the cooking of food, as well as its provision, devolved 
on the men, while everything connected with dress was the care of the women. Women 
priestesses were common, beside the men priests. 


The grave fault of indolence went far to neutralize the ad- 
vantages accruing to this people from their superior powers 
of body and mind. They were the spoilt children of Nature, l 
whose fruits with little toil dropped into their laps. Handsome, 
clever, affable, and easy-going, they were the fine gentlemen 
of the Pacific. ' The dignity of labour ' was not an idea that 
appealed to them. Athletic, and capable of great exertion 
on occasion, their physical stamina was somehow defective, 
and they readily fell a prey to sickness. They had not the 
hardihood and resolution, nor the capacity for sustained in- 
dustry, of the native New Zealanders, bred in a ruder climate. 
In mental effort the Tongans suffer from a corresponding lack 
of grit and thoroughness. 1 A similar frailty runs through 
their moral constitution. Like St. Paul's Galatians, they were 
apt to ' run well ' and then to be ' hindered ' by obstacles of 
any difficulty. Walter Lawry, in visiting the islands from 
New Zealand, observes how badly the Vavauans, after nearly 
twenty years of Christian teaching, compared with the Maoris 
in obligingness and readiness to serve ; no one would stir a 
hand to help him ashore without the offer of liberal pay !• 
They are slow to take up any manual task, even for good wages, 
and have a rooted dislike to the status of hired labourers, born 
of the pride which ease engenders. Daring, active, resourceful 
at sea, on land they will often be found listless and lounging. 
Hence the backwardness of the islands in economic development 
and the danger of extinction threatening this favoured race, 
which entered so eagerly and with such fine promise into the 
blessings of Christianity. 

The native religion was in its basis an Animism resembling 
in type the Maori heathenism, and that of the Polynesians 
generally. But the Tongan creed was in some points more 
advanced, and showed deeper reflection than that of the Maoris. 
They worshipped a host of ancestral spirits peopling Bulotu 
(the Tongan Hades, located beyond the sunset in the western 
ocean), who revisit the earth, lodging themselves in various 

1 The writer on Tonga in the Encyclopaedia Britannica says, ' Their ambition is 
to rank as a civilized state, and the flattery lavished on them by their teachers has 
spoiled them ! ' Every rising nation in its political infancy exposes itself to censures 
of this kind. 

* ' They pick up superficial acquirements with astonishing ease, but seem to be 
incapable of mastering any subject ' ; so says their censurer in the Encyclopaedia 
Britannica, a condemnation far too sweeping. 

* Lawry was a stranger to the Vavau people ; in the case of their own Missionaries 
it would have been different. 


animal forms or in conspicuous trees. Each clan circle identi- 
fied some given creature with the spirit, or spirits, of its fore- 
fathers, and held it for a token. The ghosts thus conjured 
up and materialized haunted the people's lives ; they were 
predominantly malicious in character, and had to be appeased 
by prayers and offerings. The priests and priestesses were 
believed to be inspired by them ; under the afflatus they in- 
dicated the shrines the demon-spirits inhabited, and prescribed 
the ritual and sacrifices they required. The burial-places of 
the chiefs were objects of peculiar reverence and careful 
preservation ; they were visited with prayers and offerings on 
the undertaking of a voyage or a war, or when any public or 
domestic calamity was apprehended. A universal form of 
sacrifice was the severing of sections of the fingers, which in 
cases of repeated trouble were devoted to the point of mutilation. 
Infants were regularly deprived of their little finger- joints in 
this way. The practice was probably a relic of human sacrifice. 
There were also temples built for the gods — not large or stately, 
but numerous and well kept by the priests. Here idols were 
cherished of a rude fetish style. The temples were dedicated 
mainly to the greater gods, impersonations of the powers of 
nature — the three Tangaloas inhabiting the sky, the three 
subterranean Mauis, a sea-god with various names, and Hikuleo, 
who presided over Bulotu. These were approachable only 
through the intercession of the spirits. In honour of Hikuleo 
a great annual festival was held, lasting over a fortnight, ac- 
companied by athletic sports resembling the games of Ancient 
Greece. Hikuleo was represented by a high-priest, the Tui- 
tonga, who was the head of the national religion and the most 
sacred person in the islands. Above the great gods two 
supreme, uncreated deities were recognized — so John Thomas 
asserted, who was the best authority upon the subject. These 
beings, dwelling in the infinite azure, were objects of profound 
mystery ; too remote for worship, they were spoken of but 
rarely and with the utmost reticence, their names being known 
only to a few persons of the highest rank. • This last feature 
of the Tongan belief is of extreme interest ; it appears to point 
back to some more spiritual faith brought by the progenitors 
of the Polynesians from their Asiatic home. 

1 Sec Farmer's Tonga and the Friendly Islands, pp. 124-31. To this well-planned 
carefully prepared, and pleasantly written work the writer is much indebted. 


The favourable reports of Cook and other mariners led the 
London Missionary Society to direct its earliest enterprise to 
the Friendly Islands, along with Tahiti. Ten Missionaries 
were landed from the sailing-ship Duff, in 1797, upon the shores 
of Tonga-tabu. None of these were ordained Ministers. The 
plan of the Mission was in the first instance, as with the Anglican 
subsequently in New Zealand, to pave the way for the Gospel 
by the introduction of secular arts and the material benefits 
of Christianity. This method — too much the dictate of 
worldly wisdom — failed here as it did elsewhere, • and in three 
years' time the first Mission to Tonga came to an end. The 
circumstances attending its inception were such as might 
have made the best-devised and best-conducted plans abortive. 
With the exception of one of their number, who renounced 
his faith and went over to the heathen, the London Mission- 
aries were well-meaning and devoted men ; but most of them 
were artisans little fitted by education or experience for their 
task. Arriving ignorant of the language and ideas of the 
people, they were at the mercy of the two or three White 
residents they found upon the island, who served as interpreters. 
These were unprincipled men, heathen in life and hostile to 
the purposes of the Mission ; by one of them at least the 
Missionaries were grossly betrayed. 

Received at first with hospitality, and with promises of 
support and attention to their teaching, the nine Missionaries 
separated into several parties, forming settlements at different 
points of the not very extensive island. But they had scarcely 
succeeded in setting up their houses and bringing under 
cultivation the plots of land assigned to them when a war 
broke out in which three of the company, living together, were 
butchered by the victorious party. The rest saw their property 
destroyed, and were in imminent danger of their lives, when 
they were taken off by an English trading-vessel touching on 
the coast, which conveyed them to Sydney. Before the fatal 
war commenced the Missionaries — as in the later case of 
Whangaroa and Wesleydale — suffered a sad disillusion in 

1 ' So long as the nation remained idolaters they manifested no anxiety to improve 
the outward conditions of their life. The instruction of our artisan Missionaries was 
absolutely thrown away on them. They cared nothing for better dwellings, well- 
cultivated gardens, or the hundred useful arts which the Missionaries employed. But 
as soon as they became Christians, with the new disposition to serve the living God, 
they awoke to all the higher interests of life. The change in the outward appearance 
of the islands was miraculous.' — The Story of the L.M.S., by C. Silvester Home. 


finding that it was not themselves or their teaching that the 
Natives valued, but their property. The chiefs were ready to 
seize their goods on any pretext, and the people robbed them 
at every turn. The Missionary was welcomed as a medium 
for procuring European implements, and a sort of decoy for 
attracting foreign ships and profitable barter. The Mission 
was destroyed before it had struck root ; it had not, upon the 
defective plan which it followed, laboured long enough to 
bring Christ to the people it sought to save, nor to commend 
itself on any surer ground than the utilitarian. 
. Several of the ex-Missionaries of the London Society, with- 
drawn from other islands as well as from Tonga, settled in New 
South Wales. A little colony of them resided at Parramatta. 
Amongst these was a Mr. Shelley, driven from Hihifo in Tonga, 
who took refuge in the colony and prospered there, but con- 
tinued to cherish a warm interest in the Friendly Islanders. l 
This interest was retained after his death by his family, who 
attached themselves to the Wesleyan Church at Parramatta. 
It was through Mrs. Shelley, the widow, 2 that Walter La wry, 
as a young colonial Missionary, heard of the Tongans, and 
was stirred with the desire to seek their salvation. He wrote 
on the subject to the Missionary Committee at home ; and his 
senior colleague, Samuel Leigh, then visiting England, supported 
his representations, and made the Friendly Islands, along with 
New Zealand, the subject of his powerful and successful appeals 
to British Methodists on behalf of the heathen of the South 
Seas. So it came to pass that these two enterprises were 
simultaneously launched, and the Wesleyan Mission was the 
heir of the London Mission in Tonga. 

Finding its energies absorbed by the spread of its Missions 
in other groups of the Pacific archipelago, the London Society, 
after the retirement of its agents in 1800, made no further 
attempt to evangelize the Friendly Islands ; for more than 
twenty years they were left alone. But a considerable trade 
had sprung up between Tonga and Sydney ; messages went to 
and fro, and there was reason to believe that a renewal of the 
Mission would be welcomed. The country was reported to 
be more settled, and the chiefs better disposed than their 

1 The Shelleys laboured for a while in Tahiti after leaving Tonga. 

'A daughter of this house married Ralph Mansfield; another became the 
second Mrs. Daniel J. Draper. 


predecessors of the former time. By this date also the work 
of the London Missionary Society in Tahiti and the Society 
Islands, after sixteen years of discouragement, had blossomed 
out into wonderful prosperity ; hopes of the conversion of the 
Polynesians were everywhere revived. The Missionary Com- 
mittee in London yielded to the pleadings of Leigh and Lawry, 
and consented to the occupation of both the fields they desired 
to enter. In the Minutes of 1820 Samuel Leigh is appointed 
to ' New Zealand,' and Walter Lawry to ' the Friendly Islands.' 
■ One more is to be sent ' to each station, and a Nota Bene is 
appended saying that ' Two others are to be sent to the South 
Seas, whose particular appointment is yet to be determined.' 
Whether this third pair of intended Missionaries should reinforce 
Leigh and Lawry or should be planted in some third centre 
yet to be chosen was at the time an open question. It would 
have been more prudent, with the limited means at the Com- 
mittee's disposal, to have established one of these difficult 
undertakings first before endeavouring the other, especially 
as the work in New South Wales was still undeveloped ; but 
the calls were loud, the people at home were eager for advance, 
and ' the set time to favour ' the South Sea Islanders appeared 

to be come. 

Samuel Leigh set out for New Zealand, without waiting for 
his promised colleague, early in 1822, staying a few months 
in Sydney after his return from England to make preparations. 
Lawry, who had remained up to this time in the colony, sailed 
a few months later in the same year, calling at New Zealand 
on the way to Tonga. He actually broke ground in the new 
field earlier than his fellow pioneer, who was detained at the 
Bay of Islands with the Church Missionaries, unable to secure 
a site for his own Mission. 

Although Lawry's appointment had been determined by 
the Conference, no definite instructions had been given, or 
grant made from London, for the starting of the Friendly 
Islands Mission ; nor does Leigh, who was Lawry's official 
Superintendent, appear to have ordered its commencement. 
The superintendency of the latter, apart from the control of 
the work in New Zealand, was hardly more than nominal. 
Lawry took the matter pretty much into his own hands ; his 
New South Wales friends helped to provide the initial expenses. 
A lively interest was shown in the venture by the Sydney 


people. Governor Brisbane provided a stock of cattle and 
sheep at the public expense. The owners of the St Michael, 
the ship in which Mr. and Mrs. Lawry sailed, arranged that 
the vessel, after two or three months spent in trading among 
the islands, should call on the Missionary on setting out home- 
wards, giving him time to settle down and to send news to 
Sydney, or to return if his project proved impracticable. 
Beside his wife and infant child, Lawry was accompanied by 
two young artisan volunteers from the colony — George Lilley, 
a carpenter, and Charles Tindall, a blacksmith, and by an 
older English servant, Thomas Wright, who had some know- 
ledge of agriculture. He took along with him also a Native 
boy from the Marquesas Islands named Macano, a pupil of the 
London Mission, whose speech it was hoped would facilitate 
communication with the Natives. x 

Lawry and his companions landed in Tonga-tabu on August 
16, 1822 — the first Christian Minister to set foot upon the soil 
of the Friendly Islands. Two months later the St. Michael 
reappeared in the harbour, and he was able to send by her to 
Sydney and to London cheerful news, reporting his favourable 
reception, the peaceable state of the country, and the expecta- 
tions he was in of planting a settled Mission and of winning the 
ear of the people so soon as he was able to ' speak in their own 
tongue the grand things of God.' He begged for additional 
helpers, including a surgeon and a printer (for he hoped shortly 
to reduce the language to writing), also for schoolmasters and 
books, and for a supply of articles suitable for use in barter, 
since only by this means could the daily necessaries of the 
Mission be procured. 

The prospects which opened before the Missionary in the 
first two months were flattering. The Tongans knew how to 
' make a fair show in the flesh,' and the impressions given by 
their good-natured ways and pleasant manners were, uninten- 
tionally, deceptive. The first person to meet Lawry on ship- 
board was an Englishman named William Singleton, a survivor 
from the destruction of a French vessel which had happened 
sixteen years ago. Singleton had become naturalized in Tongan 

1 The Marquesas dialect, belonging to a group of islands far to north-east, proved 
too remote from that of Tonga to serve the purpose ; ' the boy's hands were more 
useful than his tongue.' In fact, Macano was most serviceable as cook to the Mission 
house. This youth, to whom Lawry gives an excellent character, died of consumption 
soon after returning with his master to New South Wales. 


life and ways, but, though a renegade from civilization, he was 
not an abandoned and treacherous man like the scoundrels the 
previous Missionaries had fallen in with ; and he attached 
himself to Mr. Lawry with an honest goodwill. In the course 
of time this prodigal put away his heathenish vices and returned 
to the God of his fathers. The Missionary's next visitor was 
a principal chief, Palau, with whom, by Singleton's aid, he was 
able freely to converse. This potentate, who was a most 
imposing personage — the hugest man, said Lawry, he had ever 
seen — was exceedingly gracious ; he made prompt arrange- 
ments for the landing and housing of the company, and showed 
the friendliest interest in their future plans. A meeting was 
summoned, which was attended by seven of the neighbouring 
chiefs with a great concourse of the people as spectators, to 
hear the visitors' proposals and to decide on the policy to be 
adopted toward them, Singleton acting efficiently as inter- 
preter. The result was satisfactory beyond expectation ; pro- 
tection was promised to the party, and facilities for their work ; 
the chiefs would send ' thousands ' of their children to the 
schools it was proposed to open ; they wished to hear of the 
great God the strangers had to declare. The understanding 
arrived at was ratified by an exchange of presents, some of the 
chiefs showing to their guests the distinguished Tongan honour 
of stripping off their best robes to give to them. As the com- 
pany dispersed one of the older chiefs said to Lawry, with tears 
in his eyes, in reference to the presents he had brought and the 
things he told of : ' We had almost died before we had seen 
anything ! ' Palau desired the Missionary, for the sake of 
friendship and mutual advantage, to settle down at his own town 
of Mua, which was near the centre of the island ; and Lawry 
chose this place for his head quarters. From his first encounter 
and negotiations he gathered a high opinion of Palau 's abilities 
and disposition : ' A more shrewd, discerning, generous, and 
prudent man,' he wrote, ' no one could expect without the 
lines of civilization.' This judgement was modified by subse- 
quent experience, and certain less agreeable traits appeared 
in the ponderous chieftain's character on deeper acquaintance ; 
but in the main Palau stood the Missionary's friend so long as 
he remained on the island. More than once he was manifestly 
affected by what his guest succeeded in communicating respect- 
ing Christianity. Lawry's personality doubtless counted for 


much in the opening interviews ; he had a cool courage and 
self-possession, and an air of mingled authority and benignity, 
which made their impression despite the barriers of 

Unhappily this able and impressive man failed to stay long 
enough amongst the heathen folk to make proof of his ministry. 
' Oh, what a curse,' he cries, ' is the confusion of tongues ! ' 
After awaking eager attention, he was compelled to break off 
saying : ' When I can speak more of your language I will tell 
you greater things than these ' ; but for Lawry himself the 
much-desired time never came. In the course of the next year 
a Mission house, with adjoining premises, including a black- 
smith's shop, was erected at Mua 1 ; a large garden was fenced 
in and planted with vegetables and fruit-trees ; and the cattle 
and poultry brought from New South Wales were domiciled. 
No chapel or schoolhouse was as yet built, nor was it possible 
to gather a public congregation. Lawry had to content himself 
with private visits and conversations, and often had to call in 
the aid of Singleton as dragoman— a. mouthpiece far from suit- 
able for the conveying of spiritual truth. For the rest, he had 
to speak in a broken, tentative fashion, against which his 
impetuous nature chafed. Amongst other excursions he paid 
a visit to the Ata, the ruling chief of Hihifo, at the western end 
of the island, son of the ruler at whose hands Mr. Shelley and 
his comrades of the London Mission had suffered so many 
things a quarter of a century before. Like Palau of Mua, this 
chief was profuse in hospitality and fair promises ; he begged 
Mr. Lawry to ' make marks to Beritani [write to Britain] for 
more Missionaries, to come and live with him at Hihifo.' We 
shall see later how much this friendliness was worth. 

The good understanding effected between the Mission and 
the local chiefs at their first meeting was too good to last. 
Beneath the bland, engaging manners of these debonair savages 
fierce passions slumbered, like storms within their soft winds 
and sunny skies. ' They love our property, not us nor our 
teaching,' the Missionary found cause to exclaim. Within 
three months after the treaty information came through 
Singleton that dark whisperings against the Papalangi 

own dweS n0t Th!! Sf.° h 27 i ? 23 'P£< Mr i a ? d ^ Lawr y were able t0 ent ^ r their 
.rTaeod ri?,t f il %f 6 m A laZy ^^ of the Natives whose assistance they had 
fr ? honour of thw £ ,fyi ? g *, d l ay ?-- T, he ^ awr y s named their new hou se Cokt-Jernal, 
in nonour of the father of Methodist Missions, who had died ten years earlier 


(foreigners) were going round at the kava-ring. l Suspicions 
were muttered that they were spies, prospecting for the con- 
quest of the island. The coincidence of the former Mission 
(1797-1800) with the occurrence of the civil war was recalled : 

See [said one] these people are always praying to their gods as the 
former Papalangi did, and what followed ? Why, the war broke out, 
and all the old chiefs were killed ! 

Another would tell how in a dream the spirit of a former chief 
had cried to him as in wrath : ' The Papalangi will pray you 
all deadl'* Murmurings grew to threatenings. The Natives 
began to pilfer with increasing impudence from the Mission 
premises, and disturbed the occupants with angry cries and 
insulting gestures. They met remonstrances with signs to 
each other, meaning, as Singleton translated them : ' Make 
ready ! Let us put an end to these Papalangi !' The heathen 
priests were, no doubt, at the bottom of these manifestations. 
Palau was absent on a punitive expedition against Eua * when 
the demonstrations began. On his return he punished the 
more notorious offenders, but the popular feeling remained 
adverse ; a mistrust had been aroused not easy to allay, and 
the Missionary was as yet tongue-tied. When he attempted 
to explain matters, and to impress on the people the beneficence 
of the message he had to convey, his broken words failed to 
disarm their prejudice, and were often misunderstood. ' Your 
religion is very good for you, and ours is very good for us,' was 
the most civil answer he could elicit. Some chiefs who had 
professed great friendship proved fickle ; they had not forgotten 
the defeat of the earlier Missionaries, whose graves were pointed 
out with ostentation. Twice over plots were formed for the 
destruction of the Mission household, who, but for Singleton's 
watchfulness, might have perished. 

1 A narcotic juice was extracted from the root of the kava-plant, which the 
Natives were accustomed to prepare in large quantities, consuming the liquor with 
due ceremony' as they sat in a ring out of doors. This symposium constituted the 
popular social rendezvous. 

1 The notion that troubles were prayed down upon the Tongans by the foreigners 
Lawry ascribes to the suggestion of an ex-convict enemy of the former Missionaries, 
whose evil doings they had denounced. The malignant ideas insinuated by this man 
had persisted in the minds of the heathen. 

3 Eua, a small island of some elevation, lies nine miles to the east of Tonga- tabu. 
Its soil is exceptionally fertile, and Eua was called ' the garden of Tonga,' so that its 
possession was greatly coveted ; but the people were turbulent. This spot was a 
resort of European whalers, whose influence aggravated the prevalent disorder. 
Christianity was slow in getting a footing here. 


Reluctantly Lawry was brought to a judgement on the 
Tonguese character very different from that he had formed in 
the beginning. 

The navigators who first visited these islands, and the castaway 
manners who have resided among them for several years [he says! 
have attempted to wash these Ethiopians white. The fact is, however 
they follow their natural inclinations, and are earthly, sensual, devilish' 
It is not considered a disgrace to he or steal unless detection follows ■ 
and then it is very rarely punished. Treachery is the peculiar charac- 
teristic of the islanders ; and as to chastity, it is little regarded Their 
whole lives are a scene of corruption. 

So the sanguine Missionary writes words of bitterness instead 
of admiration ; he could see nothing but the dark side of the 
people's life where formerly so much that was bright and hope- 
ful had been apparent. Lawry confesses to the despondency 
which came over him, aggravated by his loneliness, and the 
reaction from his first roseate anticipations. Writing in 
his journal under date December 20, 1822, he says : 

For several weeks I have been strongly tempted to look behind me 
upon the civilized society of Great Britain and New South Wales 

t£ ™ M 6 h' the u- arC ^ n ° W br ° ken ' and J feel a S reat de ^ness to 
the world and a melting of heart before the Lord. I clearly perceive 
that I must press after holiness, or I cannot be satisfied with my solitary 
situation, or labour with all my might for the salvation of the heathen 

This passage affords a welcome glance into the Missionary's 
heart ; it reveals in the Methodist principle of entire sanctifi- 
cation the spring of enduring devotion to the redemption of 
the world for God. 

Although none of the Natives in contact with the Mission 
gave signs of renouncing idolatry, or appeared to regard the 
foreign religion with much more than a curious wonder, Lawry 
felt a strong assurance that by patient continuance, and with 
adequate resources in the way of staff and supplies, the Mission 
would succeed. Great encouragement was afforded shortly 
before his departure through the return of a youthful chief 
who had visited New Zealand and New South Wales on a 
British ship, and brought back a glowing account of the things 
he had seen and heard. This youth had been in good hands 
He had witnessed the activities of the Bay of Islands Mission 
and the prosperity spread around it ; he was shown the Sunday 


schools and congregations of Sydney, and the Sabbath ob- 
servances of Christian people ; Governor Brisbane, of New 
South Wales, had treated him with dignified kindness and 
gave him excellent advice. The traveller told his tale to an 
assembly of his fellow countrymen with graphic eloquence ; it 
confirmed much, hitherto viewed with incredulity, that the 
Mua Mission people had related. 

The statement produced [said Lawry] an electrifying effect upon 
the chiefs, who sat amazed and overwhelmed to hear such reports from 
their own relative, whose veracity they never questioned. 

This event set up a new current in favour of the Gospel, of 
which the Missionary would gladly have taken advantage, 
but he was suddenly compelled to withdraw by his wife's 
condition. On October 3, 1823, Mr. and Mrs. Lawry, after a 
sojourn of fourteen months in Tonga, set sail for Sydney in a 
British vessel that was passing. 

Though the messenger of Christ did not leave behind him 
a single convert from heathenism, his ' entering in had not 
been in vain in the Lord,' nor had this brave couple endured 
so many troubles and alarms to no purpose. Their departure 
presented a scene very different from that witnessed in the 
case of their predecessors twenty-three years earlier. 

Vast crowds [relates Miss Farmer] collected to see Mr. Lawry off. 
The Natives conveyed his baggage by canoe to the ship, a distance of 
seven or eight miles, 

a genuine token of regard from the indolent Tonguese. Just 
as he was ready to step into the boat one of the chiefs 
interrupted him with the following speech : 

We thank you for coming among us. Before you came it was 
dark night in Tonga ; now it begins to be light. Your friends in the 
foreign lands have sent for you. Well, go, and tell them that Tonga 
is a foolish land, and let them send us many teachers. Our hearts 
are sore because you are going from us. 

Like the Maoris, the Tongans were born orators, and knew how 
to say the proper thing, if they did not quite act up to it. This 
favourable address expressed the better feelings of the Native 
mind ; it was an augury of future conversion. ' Palau/ says 


Lawry, ' was hardly able to open his mouth for weeping ' ! 
This sensible and well-meaning chief died a few years after- 
wards ; there was surely some good thing in his heart toward 
the God of Israel. 

The hope expressed in the Tongan adieus was unfulfilled. 
The Lawry family, who contemplated only a brief retirement 
to New South Wales, were under the necessity of extending 
their voyage to England. Counting on the resumption of 
Lawry's work, the Missionary Committee took no immediate 
steps to fill the vacancy. But circumstances forbade his 
return, and for the next twenty years he served in the home 
itinerancy. In the end he reappeared in the South Seas as 
Superintendent for New Zealand and ' Visitor of the Missions 
in the Friendly Islands and in Fiji.' In the latter capacity, 
twenty-four years after his departure, Lawry revisited the 
scenes of his early adventure, and was able to review the 
astonishing work of God wrought in these lovely islands during 
the interval. Some fruit he found, after many days, of the 
seed sown in so much disappointment. A few survived who 
remembered his labours and patience in the months spent at 
Mua, and traced their first impressions in favour of Christ to 
what they had witnessed at that time. His name and memory 
were a goodly heritage for his successors, and their path was 
smoothed by the toil of their forerunner. 

But for the present Lawry's pioneer work appeared to have 
been thrown away. He left no lieutenant able to take the 
reins from his hand, no younger colleague acquainted with the 
language and the people and competent to hold the ground 
he had won. x His artisan assistants could not fill their leader's 
place, and were not qualified to act by themselves. Palau 
in a short time quarrelled with them and ordered them away. 
One of them remained in the island, to assist John Thomas 
on his arrival in 1826 ; but he had little influence, and no 

1 This case illustrates the unwisdom of sending a solitary Missionary to occupy a 
new field. The Mission House had a good defence in the fact that Lawry had com- 
menced his work in Tonga prematurely and without specific authorization. On the • 
other hand, he had been gazetted in the Stations as appointed to the Friendly Islands, 
with the promise of ' One to be sent,' and naturally thought it his duty to proceed 
thither as soon as he could find the means. The extreme distance of these fields from 
the head quarters in London, and the uncertainty and long delays of communication, 
gave rise to many misunderstandings and some serious miscarriages. Men on the 
field often complained that they could get no reply from Hatton Garden, end were 
therefore compelled to act upon their own judgement. The understaffed 
condition of the Mission House and the congestion of correspondence this involved 
were a main cause of the trouble. 


longer counted as a Missionary. The Mission premises built 
by Lawry, though for some time the chiefs looked after them 
with a view to their reoccupation, were finally lost. The 
strong position won at Mua was thus forfeited ; a bold forward 
movement had been made with an inadequate force, which 
for want of support was turned backwards. The retirement, 
however, was no defeat ; it was made in good order, with flying 
colours. An impression had been made on the enemy which 
was far from being effaced. The work of a few years later at 
Nukualofa, if not that at Hihifo, was to a considerable extent 
a resumption of the Mua Mission. 



A fresh Start— Mr. and Mrs. Thomas and John Hutchinson— 
A proposed Abandonment— Nathaniel Turner— A bold Step— A Tonic 

for Despondency — King Tubou's Decision— A happy Change Peter 

vi ~ Lifuka— A Misunderstanding— Annus Mirabilis— Reinforcements 
— Taufa-ahau— King George of Tonga— Baptism of Finau— An 
established Mission — Two Recruits — Pentecost. 

The work in Tonga had to be commenced over again. New 
South Wales could spare no Missionary to take Walter Lawry's 
place, nor was any successor forthcoming at the time from 
England. The other attempts in the South Sea Mission were 
proving costly, and, for the moment, disappointing. Leigh 
was withdrawn from New Zealand about the same time as 
Lawry from Tonga ; the two enterprises simultaneously lost 
their leaders. Leigh's post, however, had been reinforced 
before his departure, so that no such break in occupation 
occurred there as that from which the Friendly Islands suffered. 
The Missionary Society had no thought of giving up this field ; 
in 1824 Lawry's return was still hoped for, and a second name 
appears beside his on the Stations for that year, attached to 
Tonga- tabu. These appointments failed to take effect. 
Lawry remained in England, whither he had now arrived, and 
the colleague assigned to him was sent elsewhere. 

At last, in the autumn of 1825, John Thomas set out from 
England for the derelict Mission. Associated with Thomas's 
name is that of John Hutchinson, , a candidate for Mission 
service from Van Diemen's Land, where he had been doing 
good service for some time as a lay Preacher. He joined Mr. 
and Mrs. Thomas at Sydney. Both Missionaries were wholly 
strange to the Tongan people and language. John Thomas 
was the real father of the Church of God in Tonga. l His was 
one of those cases in which, as he would have been the first 

p™» A ^W^ 1 r^ etch of this good man was written by the late George Stringer 
%%hl?!lL d J ( C F H n Kellyf. ^^ °' * * W " /o *" Thoma1 ' Miui ^> <° »< 



to admit, ' God chooses ' for high purposes ' the weak things 
of the world, and the things despised.' Thomas was a black- 
smith of Hagley, under the Clent " Hills, in Worcestershire. 
His upbringing was rustic, his education of the slenderest ; 
he was taken straight from the village forge to be a Missionary 
at the ends of the earth. He had no brilliant natural gifts, 
nor charm of person or address, to make up for his lack of 
training. Diffident and shy into the bargain, and painfully 
conscious of his defects, Thomas had none of the push and 
self-assurance which enable men sometimes to make astonish- 
ingly successful use of slender acquirements. He was wanting 
even in the physical strength one expects in sons of the 
hammer ; throughout life he suffered from a constitutional 
nervous depression, and was liable to attacks of prostrating 
sickness. The one thing that inspired this simple Methodist 
villager, through which, in spite of every drawback and 
difficulty, he triumphed, was his firm conviction that God had 
called him to carry the Gospel of His grace to the heathen. 
He bore the marks, notwithstanding his want of accomplish- 
ments and his self-depreciation, of a sound and solid mind, a 
deeply serious and affectionate disposition, and a downright, 
unaffected manliness of nature. He had shown amidst the 
hindrances attending his attempts to serve God at home a 
single-minded resolution not likely to be daunted by any 
opposition, nor diverted to any alien pursuit. John Thomas 
was a saint and a hero in the making ; for twenty-three years, 
without pause, he laboured in the Friendly Islands, and left 
them at last, worn out with toil, after seeing the whole body of 
the people turned to the Lord, and a Christian nation formed 
out of barbarian tribes enslaved to the grossest superstitions. 

He was twenty-seven years old when, toward the close of the 
year 1824, a summons from the Mission House found John 
Thomas (as he writes) finishing ' the near side of a pair of 
saddle-horse shoes.' The shoes were left for other hands to 
complete. He passed the ordeals of examination in London, 
and was cordially recommended by the Dudley Circuit 
Quarterly Meeting. Just then the Missionary Committee was 
at a loss to fill the vacancy in the Friendly Islands, whither it 
was now certain Lawry could not return ; the Hagley black- 
smith appeared to be the nominee of providence. He shrank 
from the call under a crushing sense of unpreparedness ; the 


authorities could not but recognize his disabilities. They felt 
assured, however, that this was the man whom ' the Lord ' was 
' thrusting forth into His harvest/ and the event justified the 
unlikely appointment. A wife was required ; the young man's 
heart was set upon a lady in his home Circuit, placed somewhat 
above him in social rank and education, whom he knew to be 
interested in the missionary cause. Thomas had not dared to 
make his suit before ; now, on returning home, he invited Sarah 
Hartshorne to share his vocation. It turned out that she had 
been longing secretly to serve Christ in this very way ; she 
consented to throw in her lot with the bashful missionary 
probationer. For forty years with an equal heart they bore 
the toils and perils, and partook in the joys, of one of the most 
successful missionary careers of the last century. 

Thomas was ordained on March 22, 1825, receiving his 
charge from Richard Watson, and sailed from Gravesend on 
April 28. The start had been repeatedly postponed, with the 
advantage, for this raw countryman, of giving him some 
familiarity with city life, and opportunities of acquaintance 
with leading men of his Church and directors of the Missions. 
During the delay he wrote in his diary : 

I am now going to encounter new and untried difficulties, first at 
sea — a long sea-voyage, with strange and possibly worldly and wicked 
people ; and this is only preparatory to my taking up my abode 
amongst rude and barbarous tribes, far beyond the bounds of British 
protection, where I have to live and labour and suffer, and possibly to 
die. I was never so conscious of my own unfitness for this great under- 
taking, or of my own nothingness. The question is, then, Why do I 
attempt to go ? What is my object ? If I know anything of my own 
heart, it is that I may teach the heathen of the Friendly Islands the way 
to heaven. I love their souls. They are in error ; darkness has covered 
their minds. I do not go alone. The promise is : ' Lo, I am with you 
alway, even unto the end of the world ' ; ' Say not, I am a child ; for 
thou shalt go to all that I send thee, and whatsoever I command thee 
thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces ; for I am with thee, 
saith the Lord ' ; ' My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee 
rest.' A blessed sense of His presence I now have while waiting, and 
have had for some time ; and I can say, ' Through Christ strengthening 
me I can do all things,' and ' Lord, I am ready to go with Thee to prison 
and to death.' 

Diaries are too often an idealized reflection of the writer's 
experience ; in this case the record mirrors the simple and 
beautiful fact. 


It was fourteen months before the voyage terminated and 
the Thomases landed in the Maria Bay, on the west side of 
Tonga-tabu. Beside their colleague John Hutchinson, who 
also brought a wife with him, they had two companions — 
Thomas Wright, Lawry's old servant at Mua, who, with a 
missionary spirit, consented to return to Tonga, and a Tongan 
lad whom the Lawrys had brought to England. Much pains 
had been taken with this boy, for it was hoped his tongue 
would be of service to the Mission. But he was a light-minded 
youth, who gave his conductors trouble on the way out and 
proved in the end unreliable. Vexatious delays occurred at 
Sydney, due to the absence of regular communication and the 
dislike of many shipmasters to missionary passengers. * It was 
seven months before a passage could be secured for the party, 
so that it was the end of June, 1826, when they reached their 
destination — a date three months short of three years since 
their predecessors had quitted the island. Charles Tindall, the 
blacksmith, the sole remaining member of Lawry's Mission, 
came off to meet the new-comers. Previous communications 
had evidently passed between Tindall and Sydney ; it was his 
presence at Hihifo, and the favour in which he was held there, 
which led the Missionaries to this part of the island. After 
Lawry's departure Tindall and his companions had been driven 
from Mua by the chief Palau ; that town was closed against 
the Mission. Tindall was now living under the protection of 
Ata, the chief of Hihifo, the western port of Tonga-tabu. 
Landing was delayed through stormy weather. At last, on 
July 5, the Missionaries set foot on the wished-for shore. The 
Hihifo chief gave them a friendly reception, promising safety 
for their persons and liberty for their work, and assigned to 
them a plot of suitable ground close to the town. A wooden 
frame-house, which had been brought from Sydney in sections, 
was soon put together, and the missionary couples were toler- 
ably domiciled. In a few months they and their helpers got 
the land assigned to them into some sort of cultivation ; their 
neighbours furnished provisions on reasonable terms, showing 
much friendliness, and the establishment was settled in a 

1 On Thomas's arrival in New South Wales the brethren appear to have had 
misgivings awakened by his rawness and manifest diffidence. They urged that 
William Horton should be sent as head of the Tongan Mission, and Thomas or Hutchin- 
son retained in the colony ; the proposal was not accepted at the Mission House, 
where Horton was by no means in high favour. 


regular course of living. So far all had gone well. The daily 
prayers of the household, which were opened to the Natives, 
supplied, as at Wesleydale, the first means of religiously 
impressing the heathen. Until a working knowledge of the 
language was acquired any sort of preaching was out of the 
question. To the acquisition of the language Thomas applied 
himself most assiduously ; though a poorly educated man, he 
had a sense of grammar and method, and grappled with his 
task in a businesslike way. Both the lay helpers, Tindall and 
Wright, knew something of Tonguese by the ear ; they nego- 
tiated for the Missionaries in business transactions. Thomas 
reduced what he learnt from them to order, and made it the 
starting-point for gathering new material. 

When, in the course of some months, Thomas and Hutchinson 
had acquired a vocabulary, and had begun to convey religious 
ideas to the Natives, appealing especially to Ata and his family 
and retainers, they found an insuperable obstacle barring their 
way. The chief plainly told them that he had no thought of 
changing his religion, and should prevent his people doing so. He 
was civil and obliging in most other matters, but immovable on 
the point that was all in all to the Missionaries. Ata was high- 
priest as well as political chief of his people, and felt his honour 
bound up with the traditional idolatry. His wife Baba was 
impervious to Christian impressions ; she appeared at times 
to play the Jezebel to her husband's Ahab. The priestess and 
sorceress of the district was a sister of Ata's, who exercised a 
powerful secret influence against Christianity. A circle of the 
Natives, including some minor chiefs, who were drawn to the 
Mission house and begun to listen to its prayers and conversa- 
tion, were made to suffer Ata's displeasure ; it was given out 
that death awaited any one who accepted the lotu. So attend- 
ance was checked ; the Missionaries found themselves avoided, 
and their movements watched. The fact was, their presence 
had been desired purely for purposes of barter and material 
advantage ; the chief was steadily resolved to frustrate all 
attempts to plant the new faith. The more they learnt of the 
language and the people, the less likely did it seem that any 
progress would be made at Hihifo. The outlook was more 
discouraging here than in Mua in Lawry's time. Both the 
Missionaries fell into despondency. Hutchinson was a vigorous 
and energetic young man, but his health drooped in this 


enervating climate and under the disheartening circumstances. 
Homesickness came upon him. By the middle of 1827 it was 
evident that he and his wife neither could nor would stay much 
longer in Tonga. Thomas ascribed the failure to his own 
inefficiency, and wrote bitter things against himself. 

Had I possessed more information [he says] and a more competent 
ability for this great work before I left home, then I might have spent 
more time in the study of the language than I can now. . . .What a raw, 
weak, uncultivated wretch was I when I left old England ! And though 
I have, by study, sorrow, and deep distress, learned something, yet even 
now how little I know that I ought to know, and must know before I can 
be deserving of the name of a Preacher of the Gospel, much less of a 
Methodist Missionary ! ... It is a subject which very much humbles 
me when I see that through my inability . . . the salvation of souls is 
possibly delayed. O Lord, do Thou have mercy on me, and on these 
people ! May they not perish through my weakness. 

Occasional incidents gave gleams of hope, as when the 
Mission was visited on Easter Monday by an aged and blind 
lady, sister of the late and aunt of the present king of the island, 
whom Thomas calls ' the greatest woman in Tonga.' She 
made herself most agreeable, and told how she remembered 
the visit of Captain Cook (whom she called ' Tooti,' his tradi- 
tional name in the islands), and how she had befriended the 
Missionaries of 1797. Next evening Tubou, the powerful 
chief of Nukualofa, arrived, evidently wishful to make the 
acquaintance of the Missionaries ; he expressed his displeasure 
at the treatment they were receiving. Thomas remarks : 
' He seems athirst for knowledge, and that of God.' Tubou 
had been now for some time under the influence of a certain 
Tahitian Christian teacher, to whom we shall refer immediately. 
Next day came the news of a French ship-of-war at anchor off 
Nukualofa, the largest town of the island, situated on its chief 
harbour, about twelve miles east of Hihifo. Through this 
conveyance letters were received — the first home news for 
ten months ! Tidings were sent back to Sydney and London 
of the anxious plight of the Mission. Hutchinson must be 
removed without delay, and, if the Mission was to be continued, 
a supply must be sent in his place ; the prospect was not such 
as to warrant further outlay at the present time — so Thomas's 
report ran. 

In spite of the cheering occurrences above related the 


prospect at Hihifo became continually darker. Fihana, the 
chief's priest-sister, uttered at the kava-ring an oracle for- 
bidding further intercourse with ' the praying Papalangi.' 
The children who had begun to gather at the Mission house in 
order to learn reading were withdrawn. Ata prevented his 
people trading with the Missionaries ; they were threatened 
with boycotting and positive starvation. The French sailors 
recently on shore had misconducted themselves — a village 
on the coast had been bombarded — and the Natives were 
angered against foreigners. The Hutchinsons were now fully 
resolved on returning to the colonies, and the Thomases saw no 
other course before them. Fearing that the Mission property, 
on which Ata had made many exactions, would be plundered, 
Thomas packed up its valuables with a view to transmitting 
them to Sydney at the first opportunity. 

In July a small brig appeared off the coast, arriving, as the 
forlorn Missionaries anticipated, in answer to their recent 
message. Ata was informed of their intention to depart. He 
was taken aback, and appeared much grieved at the announce- 
ment ; but he showed no anger, and, to the agreeable surprise 
of the Mission-people, directed that every assistance should 
be given them for embarking. On reaching the ship the in- 
tending passengers found that it had not come to remove 
them, but to bring them help ! Mr. Weiss was on board, a 
young Local Preacher of Sydney designated for the ministry, 
whom the New South Wales Missionaries had sent to their 
aid. Having made up their minds to leave Hihifo, Thomas 
and Hutchinson would not consent to his landing. Finding 
the vessel, however, to be without accommodation for their 
own passage, they put on board the bulk of their luggage, 
keeping only the barest necessaries, and sent Weiss back with 
a note begging their Sydney friends to arrange at once for 
their removal. So the missionary party had to remain at 
Hihifo awaiting means of transport. Thomas writes in his 
diary : 

If I believed it was the will of God for me to continue, and even to 
shed my blood in this place, I should be willing to remain. But I cannot 
see what good would be answered by remaining. . . . Oh, that the 
Lord would frustrate my designs in this if they are not agreeable to His 
will ! 

Thomas's closing petition, offered in humble sincerity, was 


answered ; the petitioner's despondent purpose was overruled. 
At this juncture Mr. Thomas records his conviction that no 
civilized woman should be sent amongst the islanders ; the 
Missionaries must be prepared to dress and fare like the 
Natives in all respects ; they must take no property with them, 
for this only excites cupidity. They must look for their 
sustenance to the bounty of the chief under whose patronage 
they place themselves, ' which at times,' he observes, ' will be 
scanty.' Such over-hasty conclusions have often been ex- 
pressed by young Missionaries undergoing the reaction of 
disappointment which is apt to follow upon a sanguine 

Nathaniel Turner, at this time in Sydney, who had consented 
with reluctance to the departure of Weiss for Tonga, was on 
the eve of sailing himself to New Zealand to resume his work 
there when Weiss returned with his distressing report and 
Thomas's despairing message. He was now Chairman of the 
District including both Stations. He took counsel once more 
with the New South Wales brethren ; they and he agreed that 
an effort must be made to save the imperilled Mission. A 
second retreat from Tonga would be irreparable. Thomas's 
temperament was known at Sydney ; and to Turner, reading 
between the lines, who had suffered far worse things from 
the heathen in New Zealand, the case did not look so desperate 
as to the baffled men on the spot. Some news had probably 
come of the favourable situation presented at Nukualofa. The 
emergency admitted of no delay. A formidable expense had 
been already entailed by Weiss's voyage ; to charter a second 
vessel for Hihifo meant a further and heavier outlay, incurred 
without permission from home. But to leave the Tongan 
brethren in the lurch was not to be thought of. 

Turner took the bold and, as it proved, the wise course of 
going himself to Tonga in order to examine the situation, and 
to save the Mission if this were in any way possible. He left 
Hobbs and Stack to go to New Zealand without him ; and, 
taking his wife and children along with him, commandeered 
for the same destination William Cross, who had just arrived 
from England, accompanied by his wife, en route for New 
Zealand, whither he had been designated by the Mission House. 
This was an unparalleled departure from official order ; but 
' desperate diseases call for desperate remedies.' The whole 


future of our South Sea Mission depended on Turner's swift 
decision. The irregular step was justified by its success, and 
the heavy censure passed upon him by Hatton Garden was 
in the end handsomely reversed. 1 Quite a large party now 
set out for Tonga. Beside the Turners (including three 
children) and the Crosses there were Mr. and Mrs. Weiss and 
their family of three, two European servants, and three New 
Zealanders — two boys and a girl — whom Mr. Turner had 
brought away in the escape from Wesleydale. 

Such was the reply which, after sixteen weeks of suspense, 
the two Hihifo Missionaries received to their cry for release. 
Their brethren, they found with amazement, could not believe 
in their failure, and were come full of kind encouragement to 
bid them go forward. The goods they had sent off to Sydney 
were landed again ; with the new men came new supplies, 
and, what was more, new hopes and plans. Turner's buoyancy 
was a tonic for Thomas's diffidence, who was a pessimist by 
constitution, but no coward. 

About the time of Thomas and Hutchinson's settlement at 
Hihifo a couple of Christian teachers from Tahiti, destined 
for Fiji, were landed at Nukualofa on their way, and detained 
by the chief Tubou. Although their language was a very 
imperfect means of communication with the Tongans, the 
message they brought arrested Tubou and interested many 
of his people. He listened to them gladly, and before long 
built them a meeting-house, in which hundreds of people 
gathered to hear their addresses. A number of the hearers 
declared their wish to accept lotu. It was under these cir- 
cumstances that Tubou had visited Hihifo for further inquiry. 
Turner came with the hope that a fresh attempt might be made 
at Nukualofa. In New Zealand the Mission was acting on 
our Lord's instruction, ' If they persecute you in one city, flee 
to another.' He and Thomas forthwith visited Tubou, and 
Taepe, his teacher, at Nukualofa. * They were received with 

1 Turner submitted to the rebuke administered from home with meekness and 
composure. He wrote in reply : ' Let it not be thought that I would encourage a 
spirit of rebellion ; no, I am really sorry that I have been led into error [this seemingly 
relates to the proceedings in regard to Weiss], while I rejoice that the Lord has over- 
ruled it for good. . . . Though I am now black enough in the books of the Society, 
still I have a hope that they will yet think of me for good. And I likewise indulge a 
hope that, though the Committee oblige me to pay my share of the £300 [spent without 
permission on the emergency in Tonga], they will allow me at least so much as will 
meet it, in consideration of the more than £200 of personal loss in New Zealand 
[consequent on the Wesleydale calamityj. I feel for my family ! ' 

* Taepe, the chief of the pair of Tahitian emissaries, was a devoted, faithful, and 


entire cordiality. Mr. Thomas had recently heard by letter 
from the Missionary of the London Society in Tahiti that there 
was no desire in that quarter to occupy Tonga, and that its 
agents at Nukualofa were instructed to co-operate with the 
Wesleyans. Taepe was ready to put himself under Mr. Turner's 
direction, and Tubou showed unmistakable eagerness to secure 
the English Missionary for his town and people. By the 
chief's prompt and liberal assistance provision was quickly 
made for the settling of the new-comers at Nukualofa. 
Nathaniel Turner was by this time an experienced and seasoned 
Missionary ; his knowledge of the Maori language and the 
Polynesian character stood him in good stead. He was 
satisfied that Tubou's goodwill was genuine, and that his mind 
was touched by the Spirit of God. Nukualofa was clearly 
marked out for the head quarters of the Mission to the Friendly 

For a while Turner and Cross laboured together in Tubou's 
town, where they found more than enough to do. The Weisses 
returned shortly to New South Wales, Hatton Garden declining 
to endorse the provisional appointment made by the Sydney 
Synod. Hutchinson was persuaded to try again ; and as 
Turner already suffered from the strain of his labours in 
Nukualofa it was arranged, early in 1828, that the two should 
change places for a while, with the hope that both would profit 
in health. In the case of the latter this hope was not realized, 
and Mr. and Mrs. Hutchinson went back to the colonies. The 
Turners spent several months at Hihifo ; their company lifted 
John Thomas out of the low spirits which had almost proved 
fatal to his career. Turner's experience helped his colleague 
into better ways of handling men and things, and he gained 
light upon much in the principles of the language which had 
baffled him. With revived courage his intellect, naturally 
vigorous and tenacious but backward in development, grew 
into unexpected power, and from this time he never faltered. 
The two, composed hymns and school-primers jointly in 
Tonguese ; they became fast friends, and worked together 

Things now took a more hopeful course at Hihifo under 
the influence of Nukualofa, and through Ata's alarm at the 

humble man. He remained for some time with the Wesleyan Mission, to which he 
rendered invaluable service. Ultimately he returned to his native islands. His 
companion fell away from grace. 


prospect of losing his Papalangi. l Scholars again resorted 
to the Mission, and groups of hearers gathered about the 
Missionaries as they talked. It was possible once more to 
sow the seed of the Gospel, though the field was narrow and 
stony. At the other centre schools for boys and girls were 
vigorously promoted, and grown-up people mingled with the 
juvenile scholars ; the attendance was fifty on the first day, 
and rapidly increased. Already the Missionaries began to 
reduce the language to writing, aided by Mariner's vocabulary. * 
These lessons had to be painfully produced and multiplied 
in manuscript. The Maori youth, Tunkalu, was of great 
service in the school. 

At Nukualofa the planting of the Mission occasioned a 
political crisis. Tubou* was the rightful successor to the 
throne of Tonga, which had been kept vacant after his brother's 
death for some years ; he was a contented, unambitious man, 
or would earlier have claimed possession. He now declared 
his intention to accept lotu. Determined to prevent this, the 
chiefs of the other towns threatened him with war. A confer- 
ence was held on the situation, to which he summoned the 
Missionaries along with his opposers. Tubou could not 
surrender his conscience ; he would not contemplate the 
alternative of war. He resolved on exile, and, turning to the 
people, who were spectators of the conference, said : ' So many 
of you as are for Jehovah follow me ! Those who are for the 
devil sit still ! ' The assembly rose with him like one man, 
and the heathen leaders were deserted. Tubou at once 
prepared to sail away, intending to occupy an uninhabited 
island not far off ; the two Missionaries were to go with him. 
On this the opposition changed their tactics, resorting to 
bribes instead of threats. They offered to invest Tubou at 
once with the hitherto withheld title of Tui-kunabololu, 4 
which signified the regal dignity, provided he would refrain 
from the lotu. 

1 Ata's behaviour from first to last was something of a mystery. Unlike most 
Tongans, he was reserved and close in disposition. Forming a real regard and liking 
for the Missionaries, he was mortally afraid of their religion. The conflict between 
his good sense and his rooted superstition was probably the clue to his crooked ways. 
He died an obdurate heathen, after many years of contact with Christianity. 

* William Mariner, the sole survivor from the massacre of a French crew seized 
by the Tongans in 1806 ; he lived four years amongst the Natives. Mariner's memoirs 
.were published under the title Account of the Natives of the Tonga Islands, with 
Grammar, &c. (18 17). 

' Tubou was the family name of the dynasty, always, borne by the head of the clan. 

4 Tui is the Tongan equivalent of the Maori Te, i.e. king, or chief-paramount. 


What pledge Tubou gave to the electors it is imposible to 
say ; for the time he renounced his purpose, and held no open 
communication with the Missionaries. The church was closed, 
and Christian worship could only be carried on in private 
houses, a state of suspension continuing for several months. 
Meanwhile guards were set over the houses of the Missionaries 
and of the lotu people, whose lives were threatened, while the 
king sent assurances to Turner and his helpers of his continued 
goodwill. Tubou's sentiments were unchanged. So soon 
as he felt himself secure in power the church was reopened and 
the Mission resumed its activities ; before the end of the next 
year King Tubou was baptized. From this time Christianity 
was in the ascendant in Nukualofa. Tubou's reign lasted for 
nearly twenty years. He was not a great ruler, nor a man of 
commanding force ; but he had a kindly nature and honest 
intentions, and his conversion weighed not a little in favour 
of the lotu throughout Tonga. 

Of still greater importance for the future was the visit paid 
in March, 1828, by Taufa-ahau, of Haabai, to his newly elected 
royal relative, Tubou. In the prime of life, the beau ideal of 
Tongan manhood and chivalry, this young chief was already 
the most renowned warrior of the islands. A man of herculean 
strength, with powers of mind that corresponded to the pro- 
portions of his bodily frame, Taufa-ahau was endowed besides 
with all the activity and resolution in which Tubou was lacking. 
He was already sceptical with regard to the Native religion, 
and had been notorious in youth for the tricks he played upon 
the Haabai sorcerers. On coming to Nukualofa, where Turner 
and Cross had by this time considerably developed the work 
begun by the teachers from Tahiti, Taufa-ahau was deeply 
impressed by the sight of Christian worship. He paid the 
closest attention to all he saw of the lotu, 1 and on leaving 
Nukualofa begged that a White Missionary should be sent to 
Lifuka, his residence, in order to instruct him and his people. 
Much was" to come of this hereafter. 

Somewhat earlier than the time of Taufa-ahau's visit Tubou 
had sent a delegation to Vavau headed by his nephew, to 
confer with Finau Ulukalala, the northern king, on the 

1 Turner had a long interview with the Haabaian king on the subject of religion. 
' From the conversation," he writes, ' sprang the first sincere desire for lotu on the 
part of Taufa-ahau, who has since become celebrated as the great and good King 
G«orge of the Friendly Islands.' 


question of the lotu. Tui Finau fell into a fit of anger on re 
ceipt of Tubou's message ; but his mood changed to grave 
concern at the report he heard. Finally he dispatched two 
letters, written with the help of a stranded British sailor at 
his court — one to Tubou, whom he regarded as his suzerain, 
acknowledging past misdemeanours, and declaring that he 
was tired of the demons and wished to serve Jehovah. The 
other letter, addressed to the Missionary Turner, was a striking 
document : 

Sir, I am so glad to hear that you are at Tonga -tabu, teaching my 
friend Tubou to know the Great God. I hope you will be so kind as to 
send to Port Jackson [Sydney] for some Missionaries to come to my land, 
to teach me and my people. I am tired of my spirits ; they tell me so 
many lies that I am sick of them ! Since Tubou -tatai came to see me 
I have had no sleep for fear Missionaries will be so long before they get 
here. But if a ship should come to your island, be so good as to send 
one of your Missionaries to me, so that my people may see I have turned 
my evil spirits away. My island, sir, will turn to the Great God, 
because I am the only chief on the island ; I have no one to control me. 
When I turn, they all turn ! To be sure, I did try to take a ship 
[Finau's last attempt at wrecking !] ; but there will be no more of that. 
Tubou-tatai tells me that all their spirits are lies. Be so kind, sir, as to 
go quick about Missionaries as time will allow. So no more from me, 
a wicked sinner. 

(Signed) Finau ; (his mark) XXX. 

This man never did things by halves. If his request had 
been at once met, and the right man sent him, he would probably 
have accepted lotu forthwith ; as it was, he posed as a fierce 
persecutor for some years subsequently, seeing others favoured 
and himself passed by. Turner was living at Hihifo when 
Finau's appeal reached him. He promised to visit Vavau 
when he should settle again at Nukualofa ; but it was long 
before the promise could be fulfilled. Finau's letters and 
Taufa-ahau's visit were greatly cheering ; now the three kings 
of the Friendly Islands appeared to be all inquiring after God, 
and the whole country was opening to the Gospel, when a few 
months back it was doubtful whether even the single corner 
of Hihifo was tenable. 

On June 1, 1828, King Tubou threw aside all hesitation by 
rejoining the public worship of Jehovah. A great throng 
gathered to Nukualofa for the occasion ; the heathen in the 
rest of the island remained quiescent. Many families came 



to reside in Tubou's town, to be near the Christian teachers 
and to escape persecution. Nukualofa grew in strength and 

By this time Nathaniel Turner had returned to the capital, 
while Hutchinson removed to New South Wales, despairing 
of acclimatization. Turner's health had benefited much 
through the quieter interval spent at Hihifo. In Nukualofa 
Tubou's profession of faith opened ' a great and effectual door ' 
for the Gospel. The Turners and Crosses were now fairly 
acquainted with the language, and the people poured in upon 
them seeking instruction. Head, heart, and hands were busy 
all day long. They were obliged to add the work of physicians 
to that of evangelists and schoolmasters, making the most of 
the poor science they possessed. Tubou-tatai, the late envoy 
to Vavau, was at death's door ; by an almost desperate remedy 
a cure was effected, which advertised the skill of the Papalangi 
throughout the islands. ' The Mission enclosure became a 
Bethesda '; other sensational cures took place. 

Out of a large number of cases treated, in two only, which had been 
late taken in hand, was there failure [writes Turner's biographer] . This 
was satisfactory. But there was another result far more so ; not a few 
earnest persons found their way to the feet of Jesus, crying, ' Lord, if 
Thou wilt, Thou canst make me whole ! ' 

Who could doubt that in circumstances like these, where 
Christ's servants had gained such skill as opportunity afforded 
and used it with courage and compassion, touched with the 
sufferings of the people, a sanction attended their endeavour 
beyond anything that science could expect or could explain ! 
This success furthered greatly the progress of the Tonga Mission. 
In the course of the winter (our summer) three villages 
neighbouring to Nukualofa received the word of the Lord ; 
the idols were put away, and schools established in each. 

On October 4 of that year Mr. Turner writes to the Mission 
House describing the happy change coming over the islands, 
and pleading for additional labourers. He tells how a ship- 
captain recently visiting Nukualofa, after making a round of 
the Friendly and Navigators' Groups, said he had almost 
everywhere been met with the inquiry, ' Have you any 
Missionaries on board ? ' On one island the Natives had 
erected a chapel ready for the teachers when they came. In 


Haabai Taufa-ahau laid hold of a rough English sailor and 
insisted on his reading prayers, for which a house was provided, 
before the king and his servants. This improvised instructor 
taught the people letters by tracing them with a stick on the 
sand. In a letter to Mr. Leigh about the same time the 
Missionary writes : 

The work is unquestionably begun. Many have laid aside their 
heathen customs and superstitions and, according to the light they 
possess, sincerely worship the true God. I can hear them pray to 
Jehovah in their little communities with such solemnity of spirit and 
propriety of expression as quite affects me. Observe, I do not say 
that any are evangelically converted ; but we expect this soon. We 
have above one hundred Natives under daily instruction. Our con- 
gregations on the Lord's Day average from three to four hundred, and 
they listen with eager attention. . . . Thousands in the neighbouring 
islands are crying, ' Come over and help us ! ' Our trials are severe, but 
they are swallowed up in our mighty concern to instruct and save the 

Early in 1829 Taufa-ahau came again to Nukualofa 
expressly to beg for a Missionary. There was none to spare, and 
the best available substitute was offered him in the person of 
Peter Vi, the most competent Native teacher of the Mission. 
As in the case of his neighbour, Finau of Vavau, Taufa-ahau 
indignantly declined this alternative : ' Only a Tongan man ! ' 
said he. ' How should the people of Haabai pay heed to his 
religion ? ' He ' went away in a rage.' However, on the 
voyage home the king's canoes encountered an awful storm, 
and Taufa-ahau, interpreting this as a rebuke from the 
Christian's God, like Naaman, the Syrian captain, in the Old 
Testament story, returned in a humbler mood, and thankfully 
accepted the help proposed. Vi proved a great blessing to the 
Haabai folk, a number of whom in a short time openly embraced 
the lotu. The king made a friend and brother of him, and 
soon learnt all he could teach of the new faith. He showed 
himself from the first (as Vi put it) ' very mischievous to the 
gods.' The heathen priests taking alarm, and plots against 
the king being on foot, the latter summoned his retainers to a 
feast prepared by the Christians, at which he publicly declared 
his belief in Jesus Christ, and, adding deeds to words, dashed 
in pieces his idols and pulled down their houses (maraes) before 
the eyes of the assembly. His example was followed in many 
of the Haabai islands. 


John Thomas at Hihifo saw the first reward of his patient 
though often desponding labours. Despite his step-father's 
opposition and his mother's bigoted heathenism, Lolohea, » 
son of Baba, Ata's wife, and of her former husband, Tubou's 
brother and predecessor, had perseveringly attached himself 
to the Missionaries. An invalid in health, he was exceptionally 
thoughtful and much esteemed by his kindred. A troop of 
boys waited upon him. At length he besought baptism, which, 
after instruction, was administered to the royal youth, in the 
presence of his heathen mother, in January, 1829. The young 
man was manifestly ' born of the Spirit ' and not ' of the water ' 
only. Prince Lolohea was the first baptized Tonguese convert. 
Six others, received into the Church at Nukualofa, quickly 
followed — all young men, and all subsequently Preachers to 
their own people ; three of them became evangelists to other 
islands. Peter Vi was the leader of the six. He attached 
himself from the outset to the Mission at Nukualofa, and 
showed so much intelligence that Mr. Turner had been used to 
call him in on the Monday morning to criticize the Sunday 
sermon, in the way of emending his own Tonguese diction and 
indicating where he had succeeded or failed in reaching the 
hearers' understanding. At the end of March five Tonguese 
women were baptized, including the wife of Tubou ; and on 
May 4 the first Christian marriages were celebrated in the 
islands. About the same time came the first burial with 
Christian rites— that of a native chief christened Job, because 
of his patience in suffering, who had found the Saviour under 
his affliction. In April the three Missionaries met, including 
Thomas, to complete the first Tongan Christian lesson-book — 
containing Scripture-readings, catechism, and hymns — which 
was sent for printing to Sydney. All this was much to have 
accomplished in two years. A naval commander who just 
then visited Tonga, after seeing the Tahiti and New Zealand 
Missions, declared that the spectacle of transformation at 
Nukualofa surpassed all he had witnessed. 

Baptisms now multiplied, and on the evening of Sunday, 
June 7, twenty-six Natives, carefully prepared, knelt with 
their pastors at the Lord's Table. A few days later King 

Tubou for the first time ' met in Class ' ; his public prayer had 

1 Farmer and Rowe write the young man's name Lolohea (or ia) ; in Turner's 
Life it is spelt Soholea. Miss Farmer gives a full and pathetic account of Lolohea * 
conversion and death on pp. 178-187 of her story. 


the weight and unction of one accustomed to the exercise for 
years. The people followed his example, with no air of 
servility ; ' they could talk of nothing else than learning to read, 
attending the Class, being baptized, and going to heaven.' 
It seemed as though all Nukualofa, with the country about it, 
was pressing into the kingdom of God. After a few months, on 
October 11, the first Native Lovefeast was summoned ; some 
150 members of Society attended the gathering, of whom 
nearly a third found time to speak. This institution suited the 
Tongans well. 

Oh, how our hearts were melted [writes the Missionary] while we 
heard them with simplicity and earnestness state their conversion from 
heathenism to Christ ! 

Ata, at Hihifo, remained unaffected ; he was ' a tough piece 
of heathenism.' After three years' labour there were but three 
Church members, and these on trial ; the people were warned 
again and again that if they accepted lotu they would be killed ! 
King Taufa-ahau came to invite Thomas to his country, 
knowing how obdurate was the disposition of the Hihifo chief, 
and telling him how much he was wanted in the other islands. 
Experience had made the Missionary sceptical of such assur- 
ances ; but Taufa-ahau's importunity could not be resisted. 
Ata was informed of the proposal to remove his Missionary ; 
he replied, civilly enough, that he loved Mr. Thomas, but would 
not turn for him nor for any one else. ' It is good for you to 
attend to your God, and I will attend to mine.' Mr. Thomas 
might go to Haabai if he liked. It was decided that the change 
should be made ; the Thomases removed to Nukualofa, pending 
the receipt of permission from London for the acceptance of 
Taufa-ahau's invitation. 

A strange providence at this juncture set the Missionary free 
to obey the new call. The scrupulous Thomas for months had 
been waiting at Nukualofa, till he should receive sanction 
from head quarters for his removal. The expected dispatch had 
been forwarded, along with much-needed supplies for the 
Tonga Mission, but the carrier vessel foundered on the way from 
New Zealand. The only trace of ship or cargo that ever 
appeared was a packet thrown up on the shore of Tonga-tabu, 
which the finder carried to Mr. Turner. This contained the 
letter of instructions from Hatton Garden, giving permission 


for Thomas's transference. 1 The Thomases sailed forthwith 
for Lifuka, Taufa-ahau's island, where they landed on January 
30, 1830. The revolution which Vi and the king had already 
effected was astounding. In fifteen out of the eighteen in- 
habited Haabai islands public idol-worship was abolished ; 
the maraes (temples) had become places of Christian prayer or 
dwelling-houses. A congregation of three hundred regularly 
assembled at the Lifuka chapel, already built. When, two 
days after their arrival, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas opened schools 
for boys and girls, a hundred scholars assembled in each to 
begin with. 

Contrast could hardly be greater than between the state of 
things Thomas had left at Hihifo and that he found in Lifuka. 
The scenes awaiting the Missionary recalled the marvels of the 
Acts of the Apostles. Like Turner at Nukualofa, so Thomas 
found himself compelled, willy-nilly, to play the physician as 
well as the preacher and teacher. The people, to be sure, were 
still largely heathen in morals as in understanding ; but they 
had cast away their idols, and turned their faces toward 
Jehovah ; their great desire was to learn the Christian way. 
Thomas was the most careful and phlegmatic of men ; his 
knowledge of Tongan character made him mistrust the enthu- 
siasm he witnessed, and for some time he failed to appreciate 
the abandon with which the king had thrown himself into the 
cause of the lotu ; ' the Lord's doing ' was ' marvellous in his 
eyes.' But these suspicions gradually melted. 

On January 18, the Sunday after Vi's arrival with the news 
of the Haabai king's confession of Christ, King Tubou, along 
with his children, was received into the Church by baptism ; 
he took the name of Josiah. The chief priest, to whom he had 
many times prayed as to a god, was baptized on the same day. 
Three weeks before that date eighty-four baptisms had been 
celebrated at Nukualofa. s The more advanced of the converts 
were made catechists to the more backward, the Missionary 
personally instructing the former, who retailed his lessons to 
the latter. How much the novices had to learn, and how 
practically they took their lessons, was evident when, after an 

1 See the Life of Rev. N. Turner, p. 113 ; also Farmer's Tonga, pp. 203, 204. 

1 One of these was a Native woman who chose the name Eve. She came in a few 
days to the Missionary asking him to un-baptize her, for, said she, ' all the children 
of the place make sport of me, calling me " the mother of all evil ! " ' The youngsters 
were learning Scripture fast, and the lessons had not spoilt their playfulness. 


instruction on the subject of restitution, next morning a heap 
of missing household articles, brought from various quarters, 
reappeared at the Mission house ! 

Early in March proof of a change in the people's spirit was 
given in another way. A French whaling-ship struck on a 
reef not far out at sea. The captain and crew made for Nukua- 
lofa in their boats, fearful for their lives. They found protection 
and hospitality. The king sent a party of Natives to recover 
for them what could be saved from the wreck. The knowledge 
of this incident quickly spread, and the excellent Nukualofa 
harbour became henceforth a recognized port of call and refuge 
for European shipping in the South Pacific. 

The church built for the Tahitian teachers, with the school- 
houses later annexed to it, was now quite outgrown. In May, 
1830, the foundations of a large new sanctuary were laid. The 
site chosen was the most conspicuous in the island — the crown 
of a hill about eighty feet high, which formed the citadel of 
Nukualofa. In four months the building, seventy feet by 
thirty in dimensions, was completed. The Native workmen 
were delighted to handle the European tools, and Polynesian 
was blended with British taste in the plans and style. 

At the end of June, while this work was in process, Messrs. 
Williams and Barff, of the London Missionary Society, arrived 
to visit the Wesleyan stations, attended by a company of 
Tahitians ; the first named was the famous John Williams, 
known as ' the Apostle of the South Seas.' Their coming was 
a delight and refreshment to the Mission staff, and provided a 
spiritual festival for the people. The visitors went on to the 
Haabais, escorted by Mr. and Mrs. Cross, who were visiting 
the Thomases to give them temporary assistance. Williams 
devotes two chapters (xvii. and xviii.) of his Narrative of 
Missionary Enterprises mainly to his visitation of the Friendly 
Islands. This missionary expert was gratified by his inspection 
of the Methodist Mission there, particularly by the work 
accomplished in the Haabai Circuit ; the personality of King 
Taufa-ahau greatly impressed him. He relates an important 
conversation held with Mr. Turner at Nukualofa respecting 
the division of labour between the two Societies. The exclusive 
assignment of the Samoan (Navigators') Islands to the London 
Missionary Society, which occasioned so much heart-burning 
subsequently, appears to have been mooted at this conference. 


As often happens in discussions followed by no written agree- 
ment, the parties differed in their recollection of what passed 
between them. When the matter came up some years later 
Nathaniel Turner disclaimed having given to his visitors any 
promise to the effect recorded in Williams' Narrative. A 
general understanding that competition and overlapping should 
be avoided was all Turner and his colleagues supposed to be 
meant ; they had no power to effect a delimitation of territory, 
nor to bind the future action of their Society. Williams and 
Barff appear to have translated in their own minds the general 
intention into the terms of a definite compact. 1 

On the last day of this annus mirabilis Turner writes in his 
journal : 

A year of great and substantial prosperity to our Mission. We have 
more than doubled our Church members ; more than a thousand are 
under instruction in our schools. We have received the joyful news 
that three brethren and sisters have left England to join our Mission. 
Gratitude and praise ought to flow from us for God's abounding good- 
ness to me and mine. Nevertheless, I have cause to humble myself 
before the Lord. Much infirmity has attached to my proceedings. At 
times great have been my physical weakness and suffering. At our 
late District Meeting my brethren came to the same conclusion as 
myself, that I shall soon be compelled to leave Tonga for a more healthy 
climate, or sink into the grave. I greatly love my work and people, 
but when I think of my dear wife and six children, and my health so 
sensibly failing, my heart would sink within me ! 

On Covenant Sunday in the New Year two hundred knelt at 
the Lord's Table at Nukualofa ; the joy of the day was high 
and solemn, but Turner's strength visibly gave way. It was a 
great relief, to himself and to his friends, when the arrival of 
the expected reinforcements in March set him free to escape 
the tropical sun. Four years earlier he had left New Zealand 
under conditions how different ! This was the parting of a 
father from spiritual children who owed to him their own 
selves ; the wrench was almost equally painful to his family. 
Nathaniel Turner's coming had changed the face of everything 
for the Mission, and for the future of Tonga. He had snatched 
victory out of imminent defeat, and the blame incurred from 
the missionary chiefs in England by his unhesitating inter- 

1 Turner's biographer, on p. 94 of the Life, has occasion to correct another 
inaccuracy of the Missionary Enterprises, of no great moment except as going to show 
that Williams' observation was sometimes more vivid than exact. 


position for the rescue of the Friendly Islands enterprise had 
been changed into admiration. Shortly before Turner sailed 
for Sydney a report came from the once despairing John 
Thomas to the effect that in the Haabai Group five hundred 
people were meeting in Class, and a new chapel had been built 
at Lifuka more capacious than that at Nukualofa ! Vavau was 
on the point of being occupied ; then ' all Tonga,' Turner 
foresaw, ' would embrace the Gospel.' His prophetic eye 
looked farther. 

There is certainly [he concludes in writing to London] an important 
missionary field among the Fijis, and I think you will do well to make a 
beginning there. 

Nathaniel Turner's work was never resumed in the Friendly 
Islands ; but rarely has any man accomplished so much for a 
people in so short a time. 

The three new-comers, all bringing wives with them, were 
Peter Turner, James Watkin, and William Woon. Watkin and 
Woon have already figured in this History. Both migrated to 
New Zealand, and acquitted themselves worthily there, the 
former after seven years of fruitful labour in Tonga. Watkin 
was a clever as well as a devoted man, a thorough evangelist 
and pastor, and a good vernacular Preacher. Woon set up the 
Tongan printing-press, for the employment of which the 
Mission was now ripe. His health suffered in the enervating 
climate, and, losing heart, after a brief period he withdrew 
from the ministry. Perhaps Thomas was a little hard upon 
him. Making in New Zealand a second trial with better 
success, Woon resumed his place in the missionary ranks. 
Peter Turner — a Cheshireman like Nathaniel, but not of the 
same family — resembled his namesake in heartiness, unction, 
and simplicity of character. He came to fill a large place in 
the Tongan Mission, and was the Methodist apostle of Samoa. 
Of slight physique and somewhat timid manner, a poor sailor, 
slow, moreover, in his first steps in the language, the younger 
Turner was underestimated at first acquaintance ; but he had 
grit and heart, and wore better than many stronger men. The 
Natives greatly loved him. 

Nathaniel Turner was succeeded in the direction of the 
District by John Thomas, a Chairman scrupulously strict and 
exact, but full of deprecations for his un worthiness ! He 


removed to Nukualofa at the end of the year 1831, leaving in 
charge over Haabai Peter Turner, who in his nine months of 
missionary apprenticeship there had earned ' a good degree and 
great confidence.' The work of God went forward with growing 
momentum during 1830. Thomas's distrust of the sensational 
led him to hold back the rush to the lotu ; he dreaded the 
supervening in the Haabais of a wholesale, shallow conversion ; 
but he was wellnigh overborne. His Circuit included a dozen 
islands beside Lifuka, and was most difficult to superintend. 
In the middle of this year his work was interrupted by a long 
illness. Much of his time was taken up by literary translation ; 
and this in the way of secular rudiments, as well as of Scripture 
and religious knowledge. Thus we read in his diary for 
October 18 : 

I finished a book for the chief on the names of the days and the 
number of weeks and months in the year. It is a kind of almanac, and 
contains the numerals, in figures, up to 100,000. 

Taufa-ahau was the central figure of the Christian movement 
in Haabai. Every step he took told upon his people, and the 
heathen malignants made him their mark. A court-crisis arose 
not long after Thomas's coming to Lifuka. The king was to be 
married as a Christian to the single wife of his choice. Finau 
of Vavau was invited to the wedding, and brought a retinue. 
Relatives of Taufa-ahau from Tonga-tabu were also there ; 
it was a national occasion. The heathen chiefs of Haabai 
pressed around their sovereign. Suddenly a great sickness fell 
upon him. The heathen were for conveying him perforce to 
Uipa, the sacred island containing the sepulchres of the kings, 
whither it was customary to carry them at the approach of 
death. Taufa-ahau stoutly refused to be moved ; and Ulakai, 
his Christian uncle from Tonga-tabu, stood in the way. Peter 
Vi (who tells the story) was keeping watch at the king's chamber 
door, all the while ' secretly and earnestly praying to the Lord ' 
against the* enemies' machinations. With some difficulty he 
found Mr. Thomas, and informed him of the hostile design. 
The Missionary and he entered the royal apartments together, 
and found that a potion had been administered in Vi's absence 
to the sufferer by a heathen official whom they had reason to 
suspect. Thomas and Cross — for both Missionaries were now 
on the scene — countered the perilous drug with an emetic, 


followed by other medicine. But the patient was now reduced 
to extreme weakness ; for hours his life hung by a thread. 
' No Christian slept that night,' says Vi ; chiefs and people, 
men, women, and children, prayed with all their might to God. 
At dawn a woman's cry sounded, which the hearers at first 
took to be the death-wail — the king's sister was weeping for 
joy ; he had awakened, with the fever gone ! 

Thus [concludes Peter Vi] the Lord heard our prayer, and blessed 
the medicine. Our king lived, and therefore we rejoiced in the Lord. 
From that time the lotu spread and increased in strength, and the devil's 
kingdom grew weaker and weaker. 

Nothing was proved against the suspected parties, but the 
symptoms, and the known character of the ringleaders 
concerned, pointed to an attempt at murder by poison. 

The king and queen henceforth behaved as nursing-father 
and mother to the Church. Thomas describes with delight 
the simple, good-humoured way with which they took their 
place amongst the catechumens, reciting the lessons, answering 
questions, and receiving corrections, along with the little 
children. Occasionally Taufa-ahau would give a simple and 
downright address to his people on their religious duty. The 
pastor is particularly struck with the firm and gentle tone in 
which he addresses his subjects — a style the opposite to that 
usual with the chiefs ; here was one secret of Taufa-ahau's 
extraordinary influence. Though the Missionary was not aware 
of it, his disciple's manner was partly copied from his own ; 
John Thomas belittled himself and exalted his duty to an 
uncommon degree. Before the end of the year a thousand 
people were in regular attendance at Christian worship in 
Lifuka alone ; it would have been easy to number, throughout 
the island-group, thousands of baptized converts, had the 
Missionaries been willing to receive all who offered themselves. 

In March, 1831, after Thomas had suffered a second grave 
attack of sickness, and when he and his wife were almost 
reduced to native clothes for dress, letters and supplies arrived 
from England — the first communication for nearly two years. 
On April 10 the new church was opened at Lifuka with great 
eclat ; it was the Methodist cathedral of the islands. A little 
later the newly appointed Missionary arrived, just in time to 
save Thomas from an utter breakdown. Peter Turner, the 


colleagut assigned him, was Thomas's complement — eager, 
active, affectionate, and of a demonstrativeness and fervour 
stimulating to his melancholic nature. The activity of the 
printing-press, now inaugurated at Nukualofa, relieved the 
Haabai Mission at this juncture of much irksome mechanical 

Taufa-ahau had postponed his baptism more than once, 
being fearful of himself and of the steadfastness of his purposes. 
On August 7, 1831, the great event took place. 

I preached [writes Thomas] on Acts ii. 32-41. . . . After the sermon 
the chief stood, and in a very humble and becoming manner made con- 
fession of his faith and his purpose to give himself and his children to 
Christ. He thanked the Lord and the people in England who had sent 
the good word to him and his people, and exhorted the people to give 
themselves to the Lord. . . . He had chosen for his name George — or 
(as we write it) Joaji — out of respect to our good old king (George III), 
whose memory is cherished in these islands. The three children 1 are 
baptized as Charlotte (Salote), David (Tefita), and Josiah (Josaia). The 
season was solemn and profitable. The Lord grant the chief his heart's 
desire, to be baptized with the Holy Ghost and to have a new heart. 

The prayer just recorded expressed the misgiving felt by 
Thomas and his coadjutors up to this time, and often indicated 
in their letters, that the extensive Christianization effected 
in Tonga had been so far comparatively external — a change 
proceeding rather from the understanding and will of the man 
than from the transforming power of the Spirit of God. Hence, 
with all the satisfaction of the Missionaries in the acceptance 
of their message, they recognized that a far deeper work of 
grace was necessary, that the more vital and solid results they 
aimed at remained to be achieved. The Pentecost of Tonga 
was yet to come. 

Before the date of King George's baptism the Mission had 
extended its operations to Vavau. Overtures had come from 
this quarter, as we have seen, even earlier than from Haabai ; 
but the Missionaries were at that time unable to respond. 
Still earlier the London Mission had cherished designs upon 
Vavau as upon Fiji, and three of its teachers from Tahiti had 
been landed here, to prepare the way for the appointment of 
a European. Unhappily, these men deserted their calling. 
When Williams and Barff visited the islands in 1830, finding 

1 The queen had been christened some time before. 


the Wesleyan Mission successfully at work, they decided to 
leave the Vavauans to their care. 

Finau Ulukalala, l the chief-paramount of Vavau, who was 
now advanced in years, had been a fierce and ambitious 
warrior ; at one time he seemed on the way to conquer the 
whole archipelago. Thwarted in his purpose to secure an 
English Missionary on his visit to Nukualofa, Finau went 
home ' resolved that none of his people should be permitted 
to pray ! ' But a number of the Vavauans who had attended 
Christian worship in Nukualofa had received impressions they 
could not shake off. Two of these, named Faone and Lube, 
openly professed their faith in Christ. Summoned to the 
chief's presence, they refused to recant. In face of his angry 
threats they fled to Haabai, forsaking family and goods. Here 
persecution followed them, and Finau offered tempting bribes 
to induce their submission and return. 

Tell the king [they replied] that if he -will permit us to pray we will 
go ; but if not, we will not go. We prefer a life of poverty, where we 
can pray to God, to wives, or houses, or lands, without God ! 

Such was the beginning of Christianity in Vavau. Of these 
two brave witnesses for God Faone lived for many years, to 
become (as West testifies) ' an able and very original and 
powerful Preacher,' who did good service in Fiji, to which 
country he went at the call of his Church a few years after his 
conversion. Faone's prudence was not equal to his zeal, and 
he involved himself more than once in needless trouble ; but 
he and his companion deserve honour for their martyr spirit. 
Other demonstrations were made in favour of the new faith 
in Vavau, which the king repressed savagely. There were 
signs, nevertheless, that the witness of Faone and Lube was 
working on his mind ; the despot had met a power for which he 
felt himself no match. In April, 1831, Taufa-ahau, with 
whom Finau was on terms of friendship as well as kinship, 
paid him a state-visit, bringing a fleet of twenty-four canoes. 
He applied all his powers of suasion to remove his kinsman's 
prejudice against the lotu. With much difficulty he extracted 
from Finau the promise to receive a Missionary, if sent direct 
to him from England ! Instantly Taufa-ahau went off to his 

1 This man is the ' Finau Fiji' of Mariner's Account. 


Missionaries at Lifuka, leaving his fleet in the Vavau harbour, 
and returned with a letter from the hands of Messrs. Thomas 
and Turner giving the promise desired. Upon this Finau 
consented to unite with his brother-king in the public worship 
of Jehovah, at his capital, Neiafu. Service was conducted 
on this memorable occasion by Taufa-ahau's chaplain, Peter 
Vi. A man who did nothing by halves, Ulukalala after this 
gave orders for the maraes and the idols to be burnt through- 
out his dominions. 1 The majority of his people were ready 
at the word, and for three days the smoke of the conflagration 
' darkened the azure sky of Haafuluhao.' 

A crowd of Haabai Christians had come in Taufa-ahau's 
canoes ; the Vavauans thronged around them with inquiries. 
Themselves still babes in Christ, the visitors were eager to tell 
all that they knew. 

For days and nights in succession they talked, read, prayed, and 
sang with the new converts. The thirst of the people for the word and 
worship of God was insatiable ; it was with difficulty that Taufa-ahau 
and his followers could tear themselves away on their return to Haabai. 

Repression had served as a dam to raise to full height the 
flood of the Christian tide in Vavau. Soon Finau had to face 
a rebellion of the heathen, headed by his half-brother Laulaho, 
who had recently returned from Fiji. He was compelled to 
call in Taufa-ahau's military aid. The heathen had armed 
themselves and committed great devastation. Refusing to 
come to terms, they were besieged, and their fort was at length 
taken by stratagem, through a panic excited amongst the 
defenders. The prisoners were spared — a leniency unexampled 
in Tongan warfare. This bloodless victory produced the 
happiest effect. Idolatry was now abolished throughout the 
Haafulahao Group before any foreign Missionary had set 
foot there. During the later months of 1830 Mr. Thomas 

1 The burning of the Vavau gods was a dramatic scene. On the Monday morning 
following his act of Christian worship Finau held an assembly of his people. Seven 
of the principal idols were brought to the front and set in a row before him. He 
addressed them thus : ' I have brought you here to prove you ; and I will tell you 
beforehand what I am about to do, that you may be without excuse.' A warning 
followed, given to the idols by name : ' If you are a god, run away, or you will be 
burned in the fire I have prepared ! ' Then a pause, and some moments of suspense. 
When none of the seven gods either spoke or stirred the images were carried back and 
replaced in their shrines, to which forthwith, at the king's command, torches were 
applied. ' Hundreds ' of the heathen ' sat trembling and silent, looking for no less 
than some awful calamity. As no harm happened to the doers of the daring deed 
they came to the conclusion that their gods must be liars, after all, and they joined 
the praying people ' (Farmer's Tonga, p. 211). 


more than once visited Vavau from Lifuka, in company with 
the king of Haabai ; twice over he preached (as he believed) 
to four thousand Vavauans ! He was able thus to give 
encouragement and direction to the Native teachers, and 
acquired a strong personal influence over Finau. 

Two years later, when Finau had been baptized (by the 
name of Zephaniah) and had given evidence of a deep change 
of heart, he died in the faith of Christ. Endorsing his dying 
nomination, the Vavauans elected King George in his stead, 
who thus became, by the end of 1833, sovereign over two out 
of the three political divisions of the Friendly Islands. 

Two Native teachers had been sent to Vavau on the return 
of Taufa-ahau's fleet ; they reported that larger congregations 
gathered around them than they had ever seen in Lifuka. 
' Surely,' they said, ' the reign of the devil at Vavau was 
broken ! ' The reinforcement of the Tonga Mission, which 
took place in 1831, made it possible to plant a Missionary 
here. The Synod held at the end of that year determined 
that William Cross — now second in length of service on the 
islands — should go to Neiafu (Vavau) while James Watkin 
joined Peter Turner at Lifuka, and William Woon remained 
in Tonga-tabu, assisting John Thomas, who succeeded 
Nathaniel Turner there. Peter Turner had spent but nine 
months in Haabai under Thomas's direction ; Watkin had 
undergone an apprenticeship in Tonga-tabu of no greater 
length ; both men had, however, acquitted themselves 
exceedingly well. 

A distressing bereavement befell the Mission through these 
removals. The Crosses set sail from Nukualofa for Neiafu 
early in January, 1832. They carried all their belongings 
with them and a store of goods for barter, since they had to 
set up a new establishment. King Josiah had lent them a 
royal canoe, on which seventy of his people voyaged accompany- 
ing the Missionary. They started with a fair wind ; but before 
noon a storm arose, which disabled the vessel and carried 
them out of their reckoning. After two days and nights of. 
battling with the tempest they had nearly reached safety on 
the coast of Tonga-tabu, when a sudden gust drove the canoe 
against a reef in the dark. All were washed off into the sea ; 
and Mrs. Cross, who was reduced to extreme weakness by the 
exposure following upon previous illness, succumbed in the 


struggle to reach the shore, dying in her husband's arms. He 
was dragged through the breakers unconscious. The Natives 
who got a footing on the reef constructed a raft from the 
wreckage, which sufficed to bear twenty of them, with the 
Missionary, to a tiny island not far distant ; on to this refuge 
they managed to scramble. Guided by the fire which the 
first-comers lighted, others swam or floated to the same point. 
Next day, as the gale abated, a canoe crossed from Hihifo, 
where the flotsam had given intimation of the disaster, and 
the survivors were rescued. Twenty lives were lost beside 
that of the Missionary's wife. Her body was washed up on 
the shore near Hihifo, and was laid amidst the Christian dead 
at Nukualofa. This was the first missionary grave to be 
opened in Tonga ; it held the dust of a gentle, brave, and 
patient soul, who was ' faithful unto death.' Greatly shaken, 
robbed of wife and goods, William Cross held to his duty ; in 
a few months he made his way to Vavau, where he took charge 
of the new Mission. In the following September Finau's 
baptism signalized the full ascendancy of Christianity in 
Vavau ; five hundred souls were gathered into the Church 
here. In Haabai by this time twice as many had been admitted. 

The Mission was now firmly established in the three kingdoms 
and its work went forward apace, spreading uniformly over 
all the islands except Tonga-tabu, where a number of leading 
chiefs, like Ata at Hihifo, opposed the conversion of their 
people. This led to a migration from the heathen towns, 
which added to the exasperation of the hostile chiefs. King 
Josiah Tubou, a mild and easy ruler, exerted no pressure in 
favour of the lotu, and overlooked patiently many acts of 
violence and insubordination on the part of his nobles. Mr. 
and Mrs. Thomas, on returning to Tonga-tabu, visited their 
old acquaintances, the Hihifo chief and his family, whom 
they found friendly as before, but more fixed in heathen 
prejudice than ever. In March, 1833, Ata died, and active 
persecution ceased in his town. The house built by Thomas 
still stood, and the Mission property remained intact ; it was 
reoccupied in 1837. 

About the end of 1833 two valuable recruits joined the 
Mission from England, Charles Tucker and David Cargill. 
The latter was a Master of Arts of Aberdeen, the first trained 
scholar to labour in the islands. Cargill was sent with a view 


to carry through the translation-work already in progress ; 
he proved highly efficient in this department, both in Tonga 
and afterwards in Fiji. He was a man of intellectual grasp 
and varied powers, and of complete devotion. His con- 
temporary Tucker, a very capable all-round Missionary, 
accomplished much during his eight years' work in the islands. 
In the official Stations for 1832 and 1833 these two are 
designated for Fiji — a premature nomination. Cargill after- 
wards headed the Fiji Mission ; Tucker remained in Tonga. 
William Woon left the work at this juncture, and Hobbs was 
transferred hither from New Zealand. There were now six 
Missionaries in the Tonga District. Thomas, who was given 
to minimize rather than magnify successes, reported that 
more than 8,000 persons had embraced Christianity within 
the last six years ; 30,000 printed books had been put in circula- 
tion through the Nukualofa press. The provision of schools 
had not kept pace with the multiplication of Christian 
adherents ; there were, however, 5,000 scholars under 
instruction, with about 500 teachers. At the beginning of 
1824 Turner (Peter) and Cargill were stationed in Vavau ; 
Watkin and Tucker in the Haabai Circuit ; the other three, 1 
one of whom was occupied with the printing-press, on the 
chief island of Tonga-tabu. 

The year 1834 was signalized for the Church of the Friendly 
Islands by one of the most memorable outpourings of the Holy 
Spirit Methodism has ever witnessed. The Missionaries newly 
appointed to Neiafu, in Vavau, like their brethren of other 
Circuits, were concerned at the want of depth characterizing 
the Christian profession of many of the Tongan converts. They 
called around them a few of the more spiritually-minded leaders, 
to pray specifically for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The 
members of the company promised to retire at noon daily to 
plead with God in concert for this supreme blessing. A sudden 
and amazing answer came to their intercession, when on July 
23, at a village named Utui, where a Local Preacher* was 
discoursing on Christ's lament over Jerusalem, there came 
upon the congregation an overwhelming spirit of contrition. 

1 Cross had spent much of the previous year in a visit to New South Wales, 
whence he returned with restored health. 

* By this time an army of Local Preachers and Class-leaders had been enlisted 
in the three Circuits. Many of these were men of remarkable efficiency, some of them 
of original power. 



Every soul was prostrate before God ; many cried aloud in 
agony, some making open confession of past sins. Through 
the whole night weeping and prayers for pardon continued 
at Utui. The morning was greeted with shouts of joy over 
the assurance of God's forgiving love. Nothing like this had 
been seen in the islands before ; the Tongan nature was thought 
to be incapable of spiritual emotion so poignant. This befell 
on a Tuesday ; on the next Sunday, at another village, the 
entire population of five hundred, attending the service, was 
seized by the same influence. From village to village, from 
island to island, the holy epidemic spread. 

In one single day, there was reason to believe, more than one thou- 
sand people were truly converted to God. The change was not from 
dumb idols merely, but from sin to righteousness, from the power of 
Satan unto God. 

The schools had to be given up for the time, and six prayer- 
meetings were held a day at the same spot. 

As soon as the Missionaries or Local Preachers began to speak the 
people were melted into tears, and hundreds fell on their faces, calling 
on the name of the Lord. The whole island of Vavau bowed before the 
power of God. The Society in a few months increased to three thousand 

of whom more than two-thirds were ingathered under this 
mighty visitation. King George and his wife happened at 
the time to be staying in Vavau. They shared in the blessing 
which had come upon the people ; the faith which in their case, 
as with many others, had been hitherto comparatively notional, 
now reached the depths of the heart, and they entered 
unmistakably into the knowledge of salvation through the 
remission of sins. 1 

The king sent a joyful message to his pastor at Haabai 

1 The change in the king was oddly manifested by the lowering of the royal pew 
in the church at Lifuka. When the building was under construction he had been 
grieved to find the pulpit made the highest position within the walls ; it was etiquette 
in all Tongan assemblies that the king should sit above his subjects. To guard his 
dignity, therefore, he had a platform raised for himself at the opposite end of the 
church, from which he could overlook the Minister. On his return from Vavau after 
the revival, down came the royal -platform ; henceforth His Majesty sat in God's house 
on the same floor with the common man. King George after this was made a Local 
Preacher, qualifying for the Plan by study and examination like every local brother, 
and subject to the common discipline. A thoughtful, able, impressive Preacher he 
proved, as visitors to the islands repeatedly testified. Queen Charlotte became a 
useful Class-leader. 


(James Watkin) ; other tidings came to Lifuka to the like effect. 
Ministers and Leaders there also betook themselves to prayer ; 
and in a short time the same signs appeared as in the northern 
islands a few weeks before. The outstanding feature of the 
awakening, here as there, was a piercing conviction of personal 
sin against God, a flood of penitential sorrow and shame ; the 
longing for the light of God's countenance swallowed up every 
other feeling in the subjects of this experience. Charles 
Tucker writes, describing one of the Lifuka scenes : 

Oh, what a solemn, but joyful sight ! One thousand or more in- 
dividuals bowed before the Lord, weeping at the feet of Jesus and pray- 
ing in an agony of soul. I never saw such distress, never heard such 
cries for mercy or such confessions of sin before. These things were 
universal, from the greatest chiefs in the land to the meanest of the 

Some of the onlookers were frightened, thinking that ' a new 
and fearful disease had broken out,' until they, too, felt their 
nature's sickness, and sought and found the Good Physician. 
' In the Haabai Islands ' it was estimated ' that more than 
two thousand conversions took place in less than a fortnight.' 1 

The wave of revival, sweeping over Lifuka in August, two 
months later reached Nukualofa, and spread through the 
Tonga-tabu Societies. Christian believers were quickened 
and brought to a deep experience of saving grace ; backsliders 
were recovered ; scores of heathen were converted. The mani- 
festations of remorse for sin and longing for holiness which 
marked the movement elsewhere were equally prevalent here ; 
there was the like absorption for days and weeks in thoughts 
of God and in religious rapture. 

But in Tonga-tabu the awakening extended less widely 
than in the other islands ; it affected principally the existing 
congregations. The barriers of militant heathenism were 
not broken down ; indeed, resistance was exasperated by the 

x The strange case of an English sailor who happened to be left behind by his 
ship on one of the Haabai Islands illustrates the extraordinary power attending the 
Tonga revival. This man found himself alone amongst an assembly of the Natives, 
understanding not a word of their speech. In the absence of the Missionary a Tongan 
teacher was directing the worship. Gradually, as the singing, praying, weeping, 
shouting, continued, the onlooker realized what it was all about ; the people's looks 
and tones convinced him that this was no heathen, but a Christian congregation. 
. Memory and conscience began to work ; forgotten scenes of home piety were recalled ; 
words of prayer and Scripture recurred to him. The poor fellow fell on his knees, to 
sob and cry for pardon like the rest. God's mercy visited his soul, and he ' became 
another witness of Christ's power to save to the uttermost ' (Farmer's Tonga, p. 249). 


demonstrations of the revival. The feast of Inaji — Hikuleo's 
annual festival — was held at Mua. The chiefs assembled for 
this celebration attacked and burnt a Christian village near 
by ; a general persecution was feared. For the time the 
trouble passed over, but the incident was symptomatic of the 
violent resistance this neighbourhood had made from the 
beginning to the work of the Spirit of God, and was premoni- 
tory of coming wars. For many years to come the larger part 
of Tonga-tabu, with the majority of its chiefs, remained 

At the beginning of January, 1835, the District Synod met 
at Haabai ; the work of the past year was reviewed with pro- 
found gratitude to God. An increase of 3,995 members had 
been given to the Church in this short time, raising the total 
numerical strength of the Methodist Society in the islands 
to close upon 7,500. No such Pentecost as that recently 
witnessed had hitherto been vouchsafed to any missionary 
District of Methodism ; rarely, indeed, has it happened any- 
where, or at any epoch in the history of the Church, that a 
whole population should be so seized by the Spirit of God, and 
so nearly brought in its entirety into the kingdom of His grace, 
as proved the case with the Vavau and Haabai Islands in 


Nor was it a spasmodic influence, a transient tempest of 

religious feeling, which passed over the people. John Thomas, 
the head of this District, was apt to discount rather than 
exaggerate emotional manifestations ; he demanded ' fruits 
meet for repentance, 5 and was not content with tears and 
groans. He and his colleagues testified to the thoroughness 
of the work of salvation thus sensationally wrought. Pure 
hearts and kindly tempers, a new devoutness and humbleness, 
decent and comely ways of life, a regeneration of society, 
followed on the spiritual upheaval. From King George 
downwards the Tongans showed themselves a people renewed 
in the spirit of their mind ; ' a nation ' had been ' born in a 
day.' Referring to the state of things in Haafulahao in the 
period subsequent to the revival, Mr. Thomas describes the 
diligent labour, the better houses, the land-improvements to 
be observed, along with the higher morals. 

We may say [he adds] that these people are becoming more civilized. 


industrious, economical, and obedient. They are wishful to imitate 
Europeans in everything excellent, but they are afraid of evil. 

In the whole world there could scarcely be found another 
population so truly Christian in spirit and manners, up to its 
light, as King George's kingdom of Haabai and Vavau in the 
years immediately following 1834. 



Evangelization and Edification — More Labourers for the Reaping — 
Rebel Chiefs — Tubou and Fatou — Visit of John Waterhouse. — 
Romanist Attempts — A spreading Gospel — Methodists of Uvea — 
Enthusiasm — A Royal Code of Laws — Revival — King George and the 
Disaffected — Political Disturbances — Complete Evangelization of the 
Friendly Islands. 

It is a long way from Pentecost to the millennium. The 
course of the Church of Tonga after its baptism with the Spirit, 
like that of the primitive Church of Jerusalem, was sadly 
chequered. The marvellous blossoming of spiritual life 
witnessed in the year 1834 ' set ' but imperfectly ; the fruitage 
had fallen short of its promise. There were causes of the 
comparative failure in the Tongan constitution, which has 
more susceptibility than staying power ; but the declension 
is admonitory in other respects ; it was of a kind too often 
noted in Methodist history. The Methodist Church has laid 
the emphasis of her teaching upon conversion and the right 
beginning of the Christian life ; she has thought and planned 
too little for edification, for the development and culture of 
the Christian life. She has known how to gather in, but not 
so well how to keep those committed to her charge. Power- 
ful in evangelism, her ministry has proved, on the whole, less 
efficient in the shepherding of souls. To get men ' converted,' 
' saved,' ' brought to God ' — this has been the absorbing aim 
of her great Preachers and Missionaries ; but birth is a begin- 
ning ; the infant soul requires wholesome nourishment, tender 
and wise and most watchful care, if it is to be reared to a sound 
manhood in Christ Jesus. Most of all is this the case when new 
converts are born directly out of heathenism. 

The sudden and enormous augmentation of the Tongan 
Methodist Societies which took place in 1834 demanded an 
immediate strengthening of its ministry on the pastoral and 
teaching side. These thousands of new-born babes, emerging 



from gross paganism into the dazzling light of Christianity, 
were in the utmost need of the nurture and admonition of the 
Lord. Much depended for the future of the people on the 
seizing of this critical hour, when the Tongan nature was 
plastic under the influence of the Spirit of God. It was the 
time to bring educational forces into action, to apply Christian 
discipline in full vigour to the mass of new but crude and 
formless life brought within its sway. Above all, provision 
should have been promptly made for the training of the more 
gifted Tongan minds, for the forming of a body of Native 
Ministers and schoolmasters, competent to serve as guides 
and lights to their own people. The Missionary Society at 
that period was scarcely prepared to meet such demands, nor 
was their force adequately realized. Instead of strengthening 
the slender staff employed in the Friendly Islands and furnish- 
ing it with additional agencies, the Mission House allowed it 
to be depleted ! The success of the Tonga Mission was now 
assured — so the authorities seem to have argued — and the 
Society might direct its chief care to other neighbouring fields. 
The glorious work of the Holy Spirit had solved the difficulties 
of these islands ; the multitude of converts gathered on the 
field would furnish instruments for further progress there. 
Zion had ' travailed ' and ' brought forth children ' ; let the 
infants shift for themselves and thrive as they might ; she has 
other offspring for whose birth to travail ! There was an 
unconscious cruelty in this kind of assumption. A Church 
which fails to rear her offspring hardly has the right to bear 
them ; the mother must become the nurse. Revivalism 
without after-care, in the way of oversight and sound instruc- 
tion, means the making of backsliders. The sequel of the 
Tongan revival brought something of this reproach upon us ; 
it was owing to the great mercy of God, and to the immense 
toil of the handful of men upon whom the multiplied charge 
was thrown, that the fruit of the revival was not wasted and 
brought to nought. It is easy to see now that the Church 
which exulted in the mighty work of converting grace wrought 
in the Friendly Islands at this epoch failed to turn it to the 
best account. 

When the Synod met at Nukualofa in January, 1835, full 
of ardour and thanksgiving, invitations and appeals poured 
in, not from the outlying Friendly Islands alone, but from 


Samoa and Fiji besides. Fiji was already on the programme 
of the Missionary Society. All things seemed possible to men 
filled with the Spirit who had wrought through them in the 
recent months things so far beyond anticipation. Their 
people showed a delightful docility and zeal ; they were intent 
on advance, and their eagerness to spread the Gospel evidenced 
the true grace of God working in them. British Methodism, 
the Synod felt sure, would send the assistance needed. They 
applied for six new Missionaries at once — the tidings of the 
great harvest in the South Seas must call forth labourers to 
aid the reaping. For themselves, they were ready to make 
any sacrifice, to face any danger, the furtherance of God's 
kingdom in the isles required. It was determined that two 
of their number should be detailed for Fiji, and one be given 
to Samoa. 1 Cross and Cargill volunteered for the former 
enterprise ; Turner was chosen for the latter. These brethren 
were to be dispatched so soon as arrangements could be made ; 
the Missionary Committee must be trusted to supply the 
vacancies created in Tonga. This was a sacrifice of half the 
strength of the Mission ; three out of the seven upon the ground 
were to go — and these three picked and choice men. Cargill 
in particular, with his superior training and organizing powers, 
was indispensable to Tonga at a time like this. The step was 
taken in the purest spirit of self-sacrifice, under the conviction 
that God, who had wrought for His servants beyond all they 
had asked or thought, would supply the needs occasioned by 
obedience to His call ; but we may question whether those who 
took it were not sacrificing vital interests of the Tongan Church. 
Its 8,000 souls, with the thousands more seeking the way to 
Christ, were left to the care of four Missionaries (the new men, 
when they came, for some time could be of little use), only 
two of whom were fairly seasoned, and versed in the Tonguese 
vernacular. * Fiji and Samoa, moreover, drew away the 
choicest of the Native teachers and evangelists. The latter 

1 Peter Turner is assigned to Fiji in the Minutes for 1835. The printed missionary 
Stations of this date are particularly misleading. Two names appear on the Friendly 
Islands list of men who never set foot in that District. 

2 Tucker writes at this date from Haabai : ' I am distressed at the thought of 
Brother Watkin's removal to Tonga (i.e. to Tonga-tabu) ; he is very conversant with 
the language, and his labours have been much blessed to the people ; but I shall soon 
be alone here, with more than 3,500 members in Society, 161 Class-leaders, and 
upwards of 70 Local Preachers, under my care, with but a slight knowledge of the 
language ! ' And these were utter heathen but the other day, their mind and memory 
still steeped in vile and idolatrous ideas. Who can imagine such a pastorate without 
realizing its utter inadequacy? 


sacrifice brought its reward, and would have been tolerable 
had the European staff in Tonga been raised to a strength 
proper for its task of leadership and teaching ; but such was 
not the case. Fiji became the dominant interest of the Mis- 
sionary Society in the South Seas ; the new Mission grew at 
the expense of the older, when the Church should have found 
means for both. The action of the Synod in sending Peter 
Turner to Samoa proved to be of doubtful wisdom 1 ; and 
probably nothing would have been lost had the commencement 
of the Fijian undertaking been postponed until the work in 
Tonga was consolidated and the accessions of 1834 had been 
properly dealt with and digested. ' More haste is less speed.' 
John Thomas's caution and deliberate judgement seem on this 
occasion to have failed him. He himself now took the care of 
Vavau, where there was the largest number of new converts, 
while Watkin and Hobbs were put in charge of Tonga-tabu, 
and Tucker of the Haabai Circuit. Turner sailed to Samoa 
in March, Cross and Cargill for Fiji, at the end of the year ; the 
intervening months they devoted mainly to the new language. 
The history of the Haabai and Vavau Districts for some 
years to come was comparatively uneventful. In Tonga- 
tabu heathenism maintained a protracted struggle against 
the lotu. The larger part of this island, including the towns 
and dependencies of Mua, Hihifo, * Bea, and Houma, remained 
under the power of heathen chiefs, who were — at least the 
older of them * — leagued in defence of the ancient customs, 
and who proscribed Christianity within their borders. King 
Josiah Tubou was habitually tolerant, and allowed the sub- 
chiefs to dictate to their own people so long as they refrained 
from interference with those outside their jurisdiction ; nor 
did he strictly repress acts of persecution going beyond this 
limit. A flagrant proceeding of the latter kind occurred in 
1834, when the heathen were provoked by the lively zeal 
awakened in their Christian neighbours. Next year they were 
further angered by the opening of a new chapel at Beka, near 

1 This step was taken in anticipation of a sanction from home, which ultimately 
was refused ; Samoa never appears on the official Stations of the Missionary Society. 
Evidently the Missionaries in the Friendly Islands were ignorant of any agreement 
made on their part to leave the Navigators' Islands to the L.M.S. 

1 At Hihifo, however, the new Ata (successor to the chief of Thomas's time), 
allowed the Christian exiles to return. 

* Even in the heathen districts many of the younger chiefs were inclined to the 
lotu ; but the authority of their seniors and the power of the priests restrained them. 


to Houma, which was attended with an unprecedented number 
of conversions, above all by the reconversion of a prominent 
chief of Houma, who had relapsed into idolatry. He was 
deposed as a traitor and driven from his estate. The Christians, 
taking alarm, fortified Nukualofa ; the missionary families 
and the printing-press were removed for safety to Vavau, 
James Watkin returning to face the danger alone. However, 
the king and the rebel chiefs met, and came to an agreement 
resulting in a temporary peace. Watkin's family returned 
from Vavau ; the Mission resumed its activities, and found 
new openings on the island ; a footing was secured for the 
Gospel at the fortress of Bea. 

The heathen leaders felt their power slipping from them ; 
force seemed the only remedy against the foreign leaven spread- 
ing everywhere. They had little fear of Tubou, who had never 
been a fighter and was now enfeebled by age ; and they formed 
a wide conspiracy, determined by their combined strength to 
destroy the king and extirpate Christianity. Their plan was 
to make a sudden attack from all sides upon Nukualofa, to 
be delivered on Sunday, when the Christians would be at 
worship and off their guard. But the garrison was on the 
alert, and the assault failed. This took place early in 1837. 
Nukualofa was now invested, and its defenders were greatly 
outnumbered. The fall of the fortress seemed inevitable 
when King George of Haabai arrived with his fleet and landed 
troops which raised the siege and enabled Tubou's men to take 
the field. George was put in command of the Christian forces, 
to which his fame brought numerous accessions. His general- 
ship reduced the enemy in two or three months to submission ; 
but many lives were lost in the conflict ; the fields were wasted 
and trees cut down by the enemy, and in several districts 
famine ensued. By the end of the year the disorder was over. 
The Tongan king was placable, and granted favourable terms 
to the insurgents, which led in some instances to their accept- 
ance of the lotii. The young Ata of Hihifo opened his town 
to Christianity, and the vacant Mission house there was 
reinhabited, that able young Missionary, Stephen Rabone, 
newly come to Tonga, being its first occupant. At the heathen 
town of Bea a small chapel was built by a local chief. The 
churches closed during the war came into use again throughout 
the island. Despite all losses, the Tonga-tabu Circuits had 


grown in strength and numbers ; now for the first time its 
Societies exceeded a thousand in their total membership. 

On their submission to the two Christian kings in 1837 the 
rebel chiefs of Tonga-tabu promised religious liberty to their 
subjects ; these promises were broken as soon as made. At 
Hihifo and Bea the Christian minority were constantly harassed, 
and the Missionary at the former place was subjected to the 
old annoyances and obstructions ; in spite of all this converts 
steadily acceded. Amongst these was a notorious chief named 
Aho Mi, a violent enemy of the faith, whose conversion made 
a great stir in Tonga. The village of Foui, outside of Hihifo, 
built by Christian refugees in the former Ata's time, was now 
flourishing, and became a mark for heathen enmity. About 
this time the Gospel found its way to the important island of 
Eua and gained general acceptance ; a turbulent heathen 
leader of Eua, who found his usurped authority gone, emigrated 
to Hihifo with his followers. His coming aggravated the 
troubles in the latter place. King Tubou repeatedly visited 
Hihifo and Bea to repress heathen molestations of the lotu 
people ; again and again, after promises of amendment, the 
attacks were renewed. In 1839 Tubou all but fell a victim 
to a plot laid there against his life. 

About the same time two deaths occurred which appeared 
greatly to weaken the Christian interest in Tonga-tabu. One 
was that of William Ulukai, closely related to King George 
and King Tubou's principal counsellor — a man of peculiar 
weight of authority throughout the islands ; the other was the 
case of Shadrach Vihala, heir-apparent to the chieftainship 
of Hihifo. This young man was the half-brother of the ruling 
Ata. Captain of the group of youths who attached themselves 
to Mr. Thomas in the early days at Hihifo, Vihala had borne 
without flinching the brunt of persecution there for ten years, 
and shared the exile of the little Christian company. His 
character was gentle and pure. A Tongan saint, Vihala served 
excellently as a Class-leader and Local Preacher ; great hopes 
were placed upon his future career. But disease fastened upon 
him. He went to Haabai, to be under the medical care of 
Richard B. Lyth, the young doctor-missionary fresh from 
England, 1 who did all that human skill could effect to save 
his life, but in vain. 

1 Lyth was allowed to give only two years of his probation to the Friendly Islands ; 


In January, 1840, the war was reopened by a military 
attack of Ata and the Hihifoans upon Foui ; a general rising 
of the heathen chiefs followed. As in the struggle of three 
years before, the old Tongan chief found himself unequal to 
the shock of war, and he appealed for help to his Christian 
kinsman, George of Haabai. The latter arrived just in time 
to save Foui from destruction. A meeting was arranged 
between Ata and the two Christian kings, which was made the 
occasion of a dastardly plot against King George's life. Siege 
was at once laid to Hihifo, a fortress deemed impregnable. In 
a fortnight, however, the garrison surrendered. The lives of 
the prisoners were spared, an act of mercy foreign to Native 
practice, which enhanced the victory ; but the faithless Ata 
was deposed, and the idol-temples were destroyed. Hihifo 
from this time became a Christian town. 1 Matthew Wilson 
was sent to Hihifo at this time, and speedily gathered here a 
large Society. He and his wife were particularly successful 
in building up schools and winning the children and young 
people. Matthew Wilson laboured in the islands from 1836- 
1854, when he removed on his family's account to Australia ; 
here he died twenty-two years later. A man of average talents, 
he had great qualities of heart, and was everywhere useful and 

Bea and Houma continued their resistance, and, after a 
month or two's suspension, the civil war was resumed more 
fiercely than ever. An American Commodore, exploring in 
the neighbourhood, made an ill-managed attempt at mediation, 
of which he gave afterwards a report which was scarcely fair 
to the Christian party. * Nukualofa once more became the 
centre of attack. King George, who had at that moment but 
a small force within reach, was still engaged at Hihifo, and 
Tubou's town was in the utmost danger. A small British ship- 
of-war happened to arrive in the bay ; Tucker (now Superin- 
tendent of the Tonga-tabu Circuit) and Rabone, who, with 

his strength was devoted to Fiji. Fiji appropriated such men as Cargill and Lyth 
and Rabone, the flower of the missionary staff of Tonga — men whom the latter District 
could by no means afford to lose. 

1 The Mission house built by Thomas, and later tenanted by Rabone, was 
destroyed in this war. On the reoccupation of Hihifo new and improved Mission 
premises were built. 

1 Narrative of the U.S. Exploring Expedition, 1838-42 (Philadelphia), by Charles 
Wilkes. See Farmer's Tonga, pp. 318-321 ; also West's Ten Years in South-central 
Polynesia, p. 283. 


their families, were shut up in the fortress after abandoning 
the Mission premises, sent a letter to the captain stating the 
situation and requesting his offices as mediator. The captain 
proceeded to the head quarters of the rebels at Bea, where 
he landed and entered into parley with their leaders, having 
already secured the adhesion of Tubou and George to the con- 
ditions he wished to propose. A favourable result seemed to 
be approaching when the negotiations were unaccountably 
broken off. Captain Croker, leading a handful of British 
seamen, rashly assaulted the stockade. The assailants were 
beaten off with the loss of their commander, a gallant and 
estimable man. This disaster happened on June 21. It 
involved the Missionaries, at whose instance Captain Croker 
had intervened, in grave reproach. The inquiry held by 
Governor Gipps, of New South Wales, exonerated them from 
blame. The ship-of-war carried them off, with their house- 
holds, to Vavau. So soon as he had seen the Mission families 
placed in safety Tucker returned to the post of danger ; 
Thomas, who knew the disturbed island well, came with him 
from Vavau. The insurgents were found in a chastened mood, 
realizing that they had come into conflict with the British 
Empire and confronted with King George's regathered forces. 
Thomas and Tucker were able to visit the enemy fortresses, 
and peace was restored once more. 

The Mission resumed its work, and made gratifying progress 
in the western part of the island around Hihifo. At Bea, Mua, 
and Houma the ruling influences were adverse as before, 
though open violence was no longer attempted. For six 
months past school-teaching had been generally suspended 
in Tonga-tabu, and preaching and pastoral care interrupted 
in most of the villages ; Church discipline and Christian morals 
suffered accordingly. Haabai and Vavau were affected 
unfavourably by the drafting of their men to military service 
in Tonga-tabu ; the civil war operated in numberless ways to 
the detriment of religion. Poverty and want prevailed in 
the areas ravaged by the heathen, who systematically laid the 
country waste before them, and the population diminished. 
Hence through the early forties the Tongan Church was 
stationary in numbers ; the losses of the older Circuits were 
compensated by accessions received from the islands newly 
evangelized, to which reference will be made immediately 


But the most serious harm the civil war brought with it lay in 
its effect on the spirit of the people ; a diversion from the 
higher aims of life, an exasperation of temper, an unsettlement 
of mind resulted, which lowered the tone of Tongan Methodism. 
The scantiness of the missionary staff made it less equal to the 
necessities of the anxious situation ; the Church could not be 
sufficiently ' built up in its most holy faith.' 

In January, 1841, John Waterhouse, the recently appointed 
General Superintendent of the South Sea Mission, made his 
visit to Tonga, landing first at Eua, where the Mission not 
long previously had secured a footing. A party of some 
twenty-five Tonga Methodists, including Local Preachers, 
were visiting Eua just then, having come over to strengthen 
the hands of the brethren in the smaller island. Mr. Water- 
house was agreeably surprised by the development of the 
Native Churches in the islands. King George, whom he met 
at Nukualofa and happened to hear in the pulpit, he describes 
with warm admiration as 

combining the dignity of a king, the simplicity of a Christian, and the 
benignity of one called to preach the Gospel of the blessed God. . . . 
He is a tall, fine-looking, well-made man, with a remarkably penetrating 
eye and dignified carriage. . . . There are several English Ministers 1 
whose skin is much darker than his. 

It was rather a truce than a peace that now existed between 
King Tubou and the heathen chiefs at Tonga-tabu. The 
crafty Fatu of Mua, though he affected neutrality in the last 
war, had been at the bottom of the political intrigues of the 
heathen party for twenty years past 2 ; to bind him over to 
peace was most important. Anxious to bring about a thorough 
settlement, Waterhouse determined to attempt this. Ac- 
companied by Tucker, he called upon Fatu, who seemed much 
affected by his representations. Urged to go and seek the 
king's pardon, the old man put his arm round Mr. Waterhouse's 
neck and said : 

You are now my son. I want peace, but I am ashamed and afraid 
to go to Tubou. If he will visit me with you I will humble myself. 

1 Waterhouse is speaking of the ministry at large, not of the Tongan staff. 

2 This ' Fatu ' of Mua (so in Farmer and West) appears to be identical with the 
chief of the same town whom Walter Lawry calls ' Palau.' Lawry's vocalization of 
Tongan names is peculiar. 


Tubou on his side was afraid of Fatu's malice. At last King 
George and the Christian chiefs persuaded him to accept the 
plotter's invitation. Tubou sat down in the enemy's house, 
with his missionary companions on either side. After a little 
while Fatu entered the room, sat down beside Tubou, and 
wept in silence. The two old men rubbed noses, and the 
personal quarrel was ended. x Though he could not quite 
banish his fear, King Tubou slept that night in Mua ; in the 
morning the neighbouring chiefs assembled and gave in their 
formal submission, several of them kissing Tubou's feet. A 
similar reconciliation followed on Waterhouse's visit to Bea ; 
he had indeed been a messenger of the gospel of peace. 

Waterhouse visited the three island groups, and was 
enchanted with Neiafu and the Vavau harbour. He greatly 
' joyed ' in ' beholding the order ' of the Tongan Societies and 
' the solid foundation of their faith in Christ,' but he reported 
plainly upon the ' insufficient instruction,' both in ' general 
knowledge and sound theology,' manifest in the Native teachers. 
' The people,' he also observed, ' had not made such progress 
in the useful arts as might have been expected ' ; their slackness 
in point of industry was a grave defect. 

At the General Superintendent's suggestion the Synod of 
1841 resolved to propose to the Missionary Committee the 
setting up of an institution for training Native agents, the 
maintenance of which, it was believed, could be locally pro- 
vided. The proposal was taken up energetically by King 
George, and a building was quickly reared for the purpose. 
On July 13 of the same year the institution was opened at 
Neiafu (Vavau), with nine young men as pupils, under the 
direction of Francis Wilson. Mr. Wilson was a young Mis- 
sionary recently arrived, * one of the early Hoxton students, 
a man of scholarly disposition and pedagogic aptitude. His 

1 Fatu died, as he had lived, halting ' between two opinions,' a master of tergiver- 
zation. During his long illness he tried all the heathen arts for averting death, and 
even allowed the priests to offer a human sacrifice for his recovery. These resources 
failing, he made a death-bed repentance by sending for the Missionary Thomas, and 
declaring himself a believer in Christ. 

a Francis Wilson was one of the troop of young Missionaries who came out from 
England with John Waterhouse on the Triton. George Kevern was the other of this 
group assigned to Tonga — a man of similar qualities and worth to Wilson — who 
' laboured with great zeal and success ' in the islands until 1846, when loss of health 
enforced his retreat to England. In Tonga Kevern had conducted the Mission press ; 
returning home, he superintended the printing of the Tongan New Testament, being 
an excellent vernacular scholar. In much physical weakness he exercised for many 
years thereafter a strong, winning, and spiritually fruitful pastorate at home. He 
died in 1875. 


teaching, commenced while he was still a novice in the 
vernacular, under extreme difficulties for want of books and 
appliances, was pursued with the utmost diligence and with 
no little skill and resource. While conducting the seminary, 
he took an important part in the general work of the Mission. 
In 1845 his health succumbed under excessive toil, and he 
passed away — the first Missionary to die on the Tongan field. 
Francis Wilson's life and spirit were exemplary in the highest 
degree, and his brethren had learnt to rely upon his wisdom 
and calm judgement as well as his fidelity. After Wilson's 
death the institution was transferred to Tonga-tabu, where in 
course of time it developed into the Tubou College. It should 
have been earlier commenced and more strongly manned, and 
supported by efficient high schools planted in the three divisions 
of the country. Such measures, supplementing the system 
of elementary Mission schools, would have brought Christian 
training effectually to bear on the population, which was now 
placed substantially under the guidance of the Methodist 

About the end of 1841 Roman Catholic Missionaries appeared 
in the islands, sowing, as they were wont to do, new seeds of 
discontent and strife. Three years earlier King George had 
declined to receive, as being unrequired, the priest offered him 
by Bishop Pompallier of New Zealand. The same Bishop and 
priest now reappeared at Neiafu, under the protection of a 
French man-of-war. The local chiefs, accompanied by the 
Missionaries, met the Roman ecclesiastics ; under the authority 
of the king they successfully opposed the priest's landing, 
showing that the religious wants of the people were already 
supplied. Repelled from Vavau, this Romanist expedition 
obtained a footing at Wallis' Island, which lies 200 miles north- 
ward, between Fiji and Samoa ; a year or two later another 
priest established himself at Bea, in Tonga-tabu. 1 The 
last-mentioned intrusion led to much local trouble. The 
French Government in several parts of Oceania was using the 
Romanist propaganda for political ends ; it was intimated 

1 ' Had Tubou possessed King George's courage and firmness, the evil might 
have been averted ' (Farmer). An unscrupulous Popish propaganda soon spread 
through the Tongan villages. The first priest was invited, during Mr. Thomas's 
brief absence from the island, by a Bea chief, who had played fast and loose with 
Christianity. The priests made a number of converts in Bea and Mua, where they 
stimulated the insubordination against the Nukualofa Government, always simmering 
amongst the heathen. To this cause the renewal of the war was due. 


that opposition to the priests would be taken as disrespect, or 
even hostility, to France. King Tubou was led by the threats 
directed against the Friendly Islanders on this account, in 1844, 
to address a letter to the Queen of England imploring 
her protection. His appeal was favourably received, and 
a circular was issued by Her Majesty's Consul-General 
for Polynesia assuring the Missionaries that ' Great Britain 
will protect her subjects in the Friendly and Fiji Islands.' 
This was the beginning of the political relations which 
drew these two groups into the orbit of the British 

From the main islands the work of conversion spread early 
to the outlying parts of the Friendly archipelago. Eua has 
been already referred to in this connexion. There are a couple 
of islands not far from each other, and situated about three 
degrees north of Vavau, the eastern named Niua-tobatabu or 
Keppel's Island, the western, Niua-foou. The former — a 
fertile islet some six miles long — received news of the Gospel 
as early as 1829, through the visit of its chiefs to Tonga-tabu, 
where they paid tribute to the suzerain. A kind of chapel was 
built at that time to the Unknown God of the lotu-people, of 
whom the islanders craved the knowledge. Five years later 
the revival in Vavau led to the journeying of zealous converts 
to the eastern Niua, some of whom settled here as voluntary 
instructors. Peter Turner followed up their Mission by calling 
here on his way to Samoa in 1835 ■ He remained several months 
in Niua-tobatabu, where he found a harvest ready to his hand. 
The whole community became Christian, headed by the King 
Gogo — a proselyte already — who was now savingly converted. 
Gogo was a man of ability, and proved a devoted Christian. 
A Methodist Society of 512 members was formed during 
Turner's sojourn, with 24 leaders and 45 school-teachers. Two 
chapels were built in the island. 

King Gogo had previously attempted to visit the other 
Niua, taking a teacher from Vavau with him, to spread the 
news of the lotu ; but a storm wrecked the expedition, in which 
the Vavauan was drowned and the king was driven home again. 
Undeterred by this failure, Gogo made a similar attempt, after 
the Missionary's departure, to evangelize Uvea (Wallis' Island). 
This was some years before the coming of the Romanists. Here 
he landed, bringing a large party, but only to be treacherously 



murdered by the Uveans. * In Niua-tobatabu the word of 
the Lord had free course ; Maatu, the new chief, was obedient 
to the faith. The Society was cared for by a succession of 
worthy Native teachers from Vavau, visited as occasion allowed 
by the Vavau Ministers. No Tongan Church gave more 
satisfaction to its Ministers for a long course of years than did 
that formed in this tiny island. 

In 1832 Christianity first touched Niua-foou, a larger island 
than the eastern Niua, but difficult of access because of the 
harbourless, rockbound nature of its coast. King Ulukulala 
of Vavau in that year happened to make a voyage, on business 
of his own, to Niua-tobatabu, in which he was accompanied 
by Cross the Vavau Missionary. The royal canoes were over- 
taken on their return voyage by a furious storm. One of them 
was sunk, while another, containing the Missionary and the 
king, was driven westward to Niua-foou. The savage islanders, 
who threatened destruction to the voyagers as they attempted 
a landing, were frightened by a volley of blank cartridge, and 
fell as suppliants at the feet of their intended victims. 
Friendly intercourse ensued, and hospitality on the part of the 
islanders, who received in exchange the tidings of the lotu and 
of the blessings it had brought to Vavau. The visitors talked 
and preached, sang and prayed, amongst their hosts ; and an 
impression was produced which resulted in Cross leaving a 
Vavauan Christian behind as teacher to the Niua-foouans, 
and in the eventual turning of the population to Christ. This 
island also was incorporated in the Circuit of Vavau. In 1853 
Niua-foou was almost shattered by a terrific earthquake, and 
a volcano burst forth in its centre. Though much of the surface 
was wasted the island continued to be inhabited. It is a place 
of special interest to geological students. 

After the failure of Gogo's Mission to Uvea from Niua-tobatabu 
attempts continued to be made to plant the Gospel there. The 
chiefs of Uvea had become politically independent, and their 
dialect differed considerably from the Tonguese. King George, 
however, sent a letter of recommendation and a present to 
Lavalua, the ruler of Uvea, introducing two Haabai teachers 
who had volunteered for the hazardous service. The emissaries 

1 It was supposed that the king of Uvea, a relation of Gogo coveted the liter's 
wife, who had accompanied her husband. She escaped the ravisher, and was finally 
rescued after extraordinary adventures; see West's Ten Years, pp. 220-221. Un 
Uvea further. 


were sent back, though with professions of great respect for 
their sender. Lavalua's brother Booi, however, and a circle 
of his friends had listened to the message the Tongans brought, 
and it fastened on their minds. This little company before 
long renounced idolatry ; at first they were sheltered from 
persecution by Booi's influence. Their leader, in visiting 
Fiji shortly afterwards, met with Waterhouse, and begged 
from him a Missionary for Uvea. Alas, there was none to 

It was about this time that the Roman priests, foiled in 
their attempts on the larger islands, secured a footing on 
Wallis' Island. They obtained influence with Lavalua and 
won over several of the leading chiefs, though they effected 
little with the general body of the heathen. From this time 
the little Methodist band found the hostility of their country- 
men cruelly aggravated. A Tongan teacher named Jone Make 
had been sent to their help ; this man proved himself a hero 
in courage, and more than a match for the priests in argument 
on the Protestant faith. Exasperated by this opposition, the 
two priests had the beautiful Protestant chapel, which they 
called ' the house of the devil,' burnt to the ground ; war was 
proclaimed against the heretics, Romanists and heathen being 
alike armed for their destruction. Under this pressure Booi 
and some of his associates for the time recanted, but Make 
stood firm. To the king's messenger summoning him to yield 
he replied : 

You go and tell them I shall not turn ; and if it be the determination 
of the king, chiefs, and Roman priests that I should turn, here is my 
head ! Cut it off, and take it to that religion ! Would it, think you, be 
any good for me to turn and pray to a woman (the Virgin Mary), or to the 
devil-god whom you Uvea people worship ? 

The threat was not executed ; and 

the intrepid Make continued to conduct Divine service and to preach 
to as many as would hear him, under cover of the darkness and in 
appointed spots among the dense woods of the island. 

But before long Makers life was forfeit. Maatu, the king 
of Niua-tobatabu and son of the Gogo who had been killed in 
Uvea, came to visit the distracted island. Being in alliance 
with Lavalua, he attempted to mediate, when a plot was laid 


to take his life, of which the priests were believed to have a 
guilty knowledge. At the same time fresh assaults were made 
on the Protestants, who on Maatu's advice entrenched them- 
selves. The war was renewed ; Booi, resuming his courage, 
went to the defence of his friends. In a chance skirmish Make 
was caught and killed ; the heathen drank his blood. 

For the Methodists of Uvea years of bitter wrong and suffer- 
ing followed, in which the Roman priests continued to play 
a shameful part. That no Missionary found an opportunity 
to visit this lonely and hard-pressed outpost of our Church 
until 1848 was a deplorable consequence of the undermanned 
state of the Tongan Mission. The two Ministers in Vavau, 
Thomas West and William J. Davis, in that year took a voyage 
round the outlying northern islands. After their visitation 
of the two Niuas, where they found the Societies in good order 
and the work of God progressing, they made for Uvea. Here 
matters were in the saddest condition. The teacher who had 
succeeded Make, Eliesa Lagi — a faithful, peaceable, and 
consistent man — bore traces of much suffering ; his people 
were emaciated and physically reduced, in consequence of 
the nine months' siege they had undergone, standing entirely 
on the defensive. For the present the war was stayed. 

It did not appear that Booi and the Protestants had com- 
mitted any political offence ; only they would not give up the 
lotu none, or true religion (as they called their Bible faith), 
for the lotu bobu, the Pope's religion. Booi and his decimated 
and harried people begged for an English Missionary to stand 
by them, but none was forthcoming ! Failing this, they asked 
to be taken off from the island ; the missionary ship, the John 
Wesley, had no room for them. They were left to their fate, 
with the promise that the Tongan Missionaries would consider 
their case in council, and would try to find a remedy. The 
appeal made to Lavalua on their behalf for religious liberty 
was in vain ; by the king's side, at his interview with the 
Missionaries,, stood the priest, who listened to the plea for 
spiritual liberty with a sinister smile. A strange ending came 
to this distressing situation. Lavalua returned to the attack 
upon his brother, and the Protestant fortress was once more 
invested. The siege was in progress and famine was doing 
its deadly work when, eighteen months after the visit of West 
and Davis, the Missionary Webb arrived from Vavau. The 


hard-pressed and indomitable people renewed their entreaties 
for conveyance to some spot where they might keep their 
faith and live. No transport was available. With difficulty 
Mr. Webb tore himself away, the beleaguered Methodists, 
in their anxiety to escape, all but taking forcible possession 
of the missionary ship, which would have held but a tithe of 
them. The failure of the Mission, year after year, to find 
protection or means of removal for this tormented flock is 
hard to understand. 

A few months later than the above incident a couple of 
American vessels touched at Uvea. The young captain in 
command became friendly with the Protestant chief and 
married his daughter. This man claimed to have discovered 
Fanning Island, then unoccupied, on which he had raised the 
flag of the United States. 1 He planned to transport Booi and 
his followers thither, and to settle them in that distant home, 
offering to his father-in-law joint proprietorship with himself 
in the land to be colonized. Five hundred Uveans embarked 
on the two vessels.* The passengers sailed, however, no 
farther than Vavau, for on the ships touching at this island, 
after a baffling voyage of thirteen days, the whole body of them 
went ashore as though their voyage were ended ; there they 
stayed. The captain insisted on their re-embarking for 
Fanning Island, in fulfilment of the contract made to this 
effect ; the Uveans denied the existence of any promise or 
understanding of the kind on their part. No document was 
forthcoming in proof of the alleged covenant, and the Vavau 
authorities declined to interfere. What had actually passed 
between the Yankee captain and Booi it is impossible to say 
— whether the former had practised a ruse on the latter to 
secure cultivators for his desert island, or the latter on the 
former to secure a passage to Tonga for his distressed people. 
Such was the end, for the time at least, of Methodist doings 
and sufferings in Uvea. 

Chief amongst the post-revival events of Haabai was the 
building of the new church at Lifuka in the following year. 
In style and dimensions this edifice was a cathedral for the 

1 This small and lonely island, which lies far to the north-east beyond the 
Equator, came afterwards into British occupation. 

* The party included two hundred professed Romanists, who threw in their lot 
with the Methodists. There appears to have been much discontent with Lavalua's 
rule in the island, and resentment against the political interference of the priests. 
The secessionists after their arrival at Vavau abjured Romanism. 


islands, being one hundred and ten feet in length by forty-five 
in breadth ; old spears and war-clubs, prized as royal heirlooms 
and exquisitely carved, contributed to make communion-rails 
and pulpit-supports. The entire Haabai people co-operated 
in the work of construction, and the opening of the sanctuary 
was a national festival. King George preached on the occasion 
from Solomon's prayer at the dedication of the Temple. The 
presiding Missionary, Mr. Tucker, was able to announce that 
there was but one unbaptized adult now left amongst the 
inhabitants of the Haabai group. Mrs. Tucker, a clever and 
indefatigable teacher, rendered unique service in this wonder- 
ful time, when a whole people threw itself upon a couple of 
Missionaries for spiritual care. Not only did she teach and 
train the women-folk in all sorts of ways, but the Local 
Preachers insisted on her help in the making of their sermons, 
and she held a popular and successful class in homiletics. Mr. 
Tucker catechized his whole congregation each Sunday, and 
had a supplementary meeting of the kind on Monday evening, 
when he followed up the Sunday lesson. The old men and 
women sat down with the children to spell out the Bible stories. 
Books became the greatest treasure of the people, who took 
their little libraries with them on journeys and voyages. 
Nothing could be more delightful than the enthusiasm of the 
new-born soul of Tonga ; the pity was that so slight a supply 
of instructors was forthcoming amidst so great a demand. 
Within the next few years two successive hurricanes swept 
over Haabai ; famine and disease came in their train, chastening 
the people severely. The testing was well borne. 

For Vavau, the promulgation of King George's code of 1839 
— the first extended written law possessed by the Tonguese 1 
— was the outstanding event of this period. A copy of this 
able document is found in the annual report of the Missionary 
Society for 1840. 2 Its promulgation signified the entering 
of the Friendly Islands into the circle of civilized nations. The 

1 This legislation had a precedent in the Tahitian code of 1819, drawn up by the 
Christian King Pomare, of the Society Islands, under the advice of Missionaries of 
the London Society ; see chaps, v. to vii. of Vol. III. in Ellis' Polynesian Researches. 
The political development of the Tahitians, which showed much promise, was roughly 
arrested through the seizure of these islands by the French Government in 1841 ; see 
the account of this coup d'etat given in Pritchard's Polynesian Reminiscences, chaps. 
i. and ii. John Williams describes in chap. ix. of his Missionary Enterprises the 
institution of a similar legal code, including trial by jury, amongst the Native peoples 
of Raiatea and of Rarotonga. 

5 This document, in a later improved edition, is printed as an Appendix to 
Robert Young's Southern World. 


influence of the king's missionary advisers may be traced in 
the construction and in some of the provisions of the code, 
but it was substantially his own creation ; it runs in Tongan 
style, and was well suited to the condition of the people, whose 
morals it served to guard and to shape. 1 At the same time 
the king appointed four chiefs as judges or magistrates, 
responsible for the administration of the laws, who were to 
hold session once a month. The arbitrary judicial power of 
the lesser chiefs and heads of clans was thus controlled, and 
finally abolished. In its spirit and the sanctions it invokes 
the statute-law of Tonga was as religious as the law of Moses. 
The preamble of the original code ran thus : 

I, George, make known this my mind to the chiefs of the different 
parts of Haafulahao, also to all my people. ... It is of the God of 
heaven and earth that I have been appointed to speak to you. He is 
King of kings and Lord of lords. . . . He is righteous in all His works. 
We are all the work of His hands, and the sheep of His pasture ; and 
His will towards us is that we should be happy. Therefore it is that I 
make known to you all, to the chiefs, and governors, and people, as well 
as to the different strangers and foreigners that live with me. 

That the laws of our land prohibit, &c. 

The terms of § xxxvi., as expressed in the later and more 
extended code, show the legislator's acquaintance with the 
prevailing faults of his people. 

The law referring to men. — You shall work and persevere in labouring 
for the support of your family as well as yourself, and in order to trade 
and contribute to the cause of God, and to the chief of the land. . . . 
Any man not willing to work, he shall neither be fed nor assisted, all 
such persons being useless to the land and its inhabitants, and 
unprofitable to their friends. 

Nothing could afford a more satisfactory evidence of the firm 
rooting of Christianity in the islands, and of its blessings for 
the community, than the appearance of such a body of public 
law and the institution of an effective judicature to ensure its 
enforcement. ' The powers that be,' represented by King 
George Taufa-ahau, vindicated themselves as ' ordained of 
God ' to guard and build up the fabric of society. 

1 The system inaugurated in Vavau was extended to all the islands. The king's 
power seems to have been more autocratic in Vavau than in his other dominions ; 
this would account for the first experiment in legislation being made there. 


In Tonga-tabu much trouble yet remained after the above 
date both for Church and State, during the later forties and 
earlier fifties. King Josiah Tubou had seen what promised 
to be an end of the war against the Christians, which had raged 
intermittently from 1835-42 and filled his old age with disquiet. 
In 1845 he died in peace ; his last public act was to open a new 
Methodist church in the island of Eua, at last brought into a 
settled Christian condition, of which his grandson was now 
the principal chief. George of Haabai and Vavau was one of 
the two nearest in kindred who were nominated by Josiah to 
succeed himself. He was elected, almost by acclamation, 
' Tubou Tui-kanokubolu,' and thus became reigning monarch 
of all Tonga. The electors were by this date all Christians ; 
but the heathen chiefs of Tonga- tabu, with slight exceptions, 
signified their assent, and took their place in the ceremony of 
enthronement, at which Mr. Thomas religiously officiated. 
The Missionary gave the new monarch a solemn public charge, 
based on the words of 2 Sam. xxiii. 3, 4, which set forth the 
Divine ideal of a godly king. Thomas had watched the last 
coronation in the island — that of King Josiah Tubou, who 
was raised to the throne by the enemies of Christ in order to 
draw him back to heathenism. To witness the contrast 
between this day and that was a great reward for the patient 
and humble missionary pioneer. From this time King George 
made Nukualofa his principal residence, 1 which was now the 
undisputed capital of the Friendly Islands. 

Methodism in the islands at this date registered a Church 
membership of 6,600 or thereabouts. This was a decline of 
more than 1,000 from the high- water mark reached after the 
revival ten years earlier. The diminution took place in the 
Haabai and Vavau Circuits, where the accessions had been 
wholesale. Tonga-tabu recorded a gradual but continuous 
increase, while the Societies of the smaller islands outlying 
contributed several hundreds to the total. The heavy decrease 
in the centra] and northern groups was not due to any relapse 
of the people into heathenism, but to the reaction that followed 
the high-strung excitement of the movement of 1834. The 

1 George found his new subjects less respectful and tractable than the old — they 
had been accustomed to take liberties with his predecessor. Consequently, to mark 
his displeasure, he retired in 1847 to Haabai. So much sedition, however, arose in 
the southern island that he was compelled again to fix his abode there. But Lifuka 
was always more agreeable to His Majesty. 


extent of this reaction must be attributed to the undermanned 
state of the Mission, which supplied shepherds far too few for 
the tending of so large and so wild a flock. A third cause of 
the reduced numbers is to be found in the dwindling of the 
population which contact with European life had already 
brought to a race whose physical constitution was for the first 
time exposed to a whole set of new maladies. This last 
melancholy factor in the progress of civilization continues to 
operate disastrously against Polynesian life 1 ; it makes the 
demand for the redeeming work of the Gospel and the Church 
painfully urgent. In this counter-agent, supported by science 
and eugenic care, is the one hope of saving the indigenous 
peoples of the tropical ocean, who are doomed otherwise to 
perish in competition with races of a hardier strain. 

A second tide of religious revival, not so powerful as the 
former, but refreshing and deepening to the life of Methodism, 
passed over the islands in 1846, affecting all the Circuits. This 
visitation gladdened the dying eyes of Francis Wilson at 
Neiafu. Peter Turner, now labouring in Vavau again, describes 
a prominent feature of this awakening : 

What a sight have I witnessed ! Old and young have come to 
make confession to the (civil) judges of misdemeanours of which they 
have been guilty for years back. As the greater part of those who came 
to confess have obtained mercy at the hands of God, the judges have 
given a general pardon. ... At my request the people (in church) 
rose to sing a song of praise to Almighty God for the grace manifested 
to them from Himself, and for His having inclined their governors to 
imitate Him in His readiness to forgive all who humbly confess and 
freely forsake their sins. 

A month later he adds : 

The people are all engaged in prayer. . . . One of the judges said : 
' These are fine times, for there are no offenders to be judged ! ' There 
has not been one for nearly two months. 

Along with the general turning from crime and sin there was a 
happy restoration of backsliders in Vavau and elsewhere, and 
an earnest quest for holiness throughout the Church ; all the 
marks were present of a genuine Methodist revival. The moral 

1 Measles, for example, which we know in Europe as a comparatively trifling 
children's ailment, carried off in the epidemic of 1875 40,000 Fijians at a stroke ! 


level of the people's life got another uplift ; ' they were as much 
concerned about holy practice as about joyous feeling.' The 
membership returns reflect the improved state of the Societies. 
In 1848 the Church census rose once more to the figure of 7,500, 
the Tonga-tabu Church being now but little inferior in size to 
its companions in the other groups. 

There was still a battle to fight with paganism in Tonga. 
With this in view, a young and ardent colonial Preacher named 
George Miller had been appointed shortly before Tubou's 
death as Missioner to the district round the heathen Mua. He 
had charge of a village Society of forty-two members at Mak- 
anga, three and a half miles distant from that stronghold, 
where the Tui-tonga, or ' sacred king ' of the island, l resided. 
At Mua Tungi now reigned, in succession to his father Fatu. 
Miller was on friendly terms with both these chiefs, who 
listened to his appeals politely and protected his Makanga 
flock, but would not let him preach within the town. Tungi's 
attitude was decisive for Mua and its dependencies ; repeatedly, 
when minor chiefs were inclined to lotu, they would say to the 
Missionary in excuse for their delay : ' I am waiting for Tungi.' 
The Papist priests working from Bea at the same time courted 
Mua, but to little purpose ; the people were shrewd enough to 
say of the religion they offered : ' It is just the old thing (i.e. 
heathenism) in a new garb ! ' 

Tungi, like his father and like Ata of Hihifo, seemed likely 
to prove an incorrigible heathen. But in the year 1850 the 
change came ; yielding to the Holy Spirit's strivings, he cast 
away his idols and his sins in one day. The chief made public 
confession of penitence and faith in Christ, and one hundred 
and fifty of his people joined the lotu with him. A great con- 
gregation, gathered from all parts of Tonga-tabu, came to 
witness Tungi's surrender to Jesus Christ. As he entered 
the church and fell upon his knees before the assembly, and 
his followers with him, sobs and cries of joy, unrestrainable, 
rose from the people. The stoutest barrier in the way of the 
Gospel remaining in Tonga had now fallen. A collection was 
made of the discarded gods, which were gathered in a Tongan 
basket and handed ever, with a fine sense of dramatic fitness, 

1 Tonga-tabu had a double king — the Tui-kanokubolu, who wielded civil and 
military power, and the Tui-tonga, representing an older dynasty, who presided over 
the sacred rites and was the highest representative of the old national religion. The 
two families were connected by intermarriage. 


to Superintendent Lawry, the original Missionary to Mua, 
who was visiting the island at this time. 

Walter Lawry landed from the John Wesley on June 12 , 
1848. He brought with him the largest Methodist company 
— of three Missionaries and their wives — ever sent to the 
Friendly Islands at one time, a reinforcement long overdue. 
Francis Wilson had died ; George Kevern was driven home by 
sickness. These were replaced by George Daniel, William J. 
Davis, and Richard Amos, the two former being put for the 
time in charge of the printing-press, the latter of the Native 
Institute, now to be removed from Vavau to Tonga-tabu. 
After the capitulation of Mua to Christ Daniel was stationed 
in that important town. Along with these came Thomas 
Adams, who was destined to have a long and honourable career 
in Tonga and succeeded to much of Thomas's influence. Amos 
was an accomplished teacher, of modern training ; he introduced 
professional method and system into the education of the 
islands. At first the Natives were doubtful of the new way, 
but before long the Amos training became very popular. The 
Tonga schools were counted models for Polynesia. 

On returning to Haabai in 1847 King George, in the spirit 
of reconciliation, appointed Maafu 1 and Lavaka, heathen 
chiefs of Bea, joint-governors of Tonga-tabu in his name, at 
the same time taking a pledge of peace-keeping from all the 
principal men of the island. This well-meant policy appears 
to have been read as a sign of weakness. The two adminis- 
trators plotted against their sovereign, and encouraged dis- 
affection. The Bea and Houma folk were allowed to restore 
their fortifications, and to plunder and harass their Christian 
neighbours. Threatenings of revolution became rife. The 
Roman priests at Bea played a characteristic part in the 
agitation, hinting the probable interference of French forces in 
the interest of the rebels, 2 and helping them to obtain munitions. 

1 This Maafu was not the Tongan chief of that name who figures later in Fijian 
affairs. Seemann, in his valuable record entitled A Mission to Fiji (1862), has mis- 
takenly identified the two, and drawn from the identification erroneous inferences 
damaging to King George of Tonga ; see the work above-named, pp. 242 ff . The 
author combines science and politics in a lively and interesting way ; but his observa- 
tions under the latter head are not always as careful and trustworthy as under the 
former. See also, on these matters, West's Ten Years in South-Central Polynesia, 
PP- 394-397- 

1 King George, who knew how violently the French Government had acted in 
Tahiti, was greatly disturbed by the rumours of interference from that quarter ; so 
much so, that he sent a letter by Mr. Lawry to Governor Grey, of New Zealand, 
proposing to place himself and his subjects under the rule of the British Crown. 


Alarmed at the progress of disaffection, King George returned 
to Nukualofa in the middle of the year 1851 ; his coming drove 
his opposers to open revolt. Culprits fleeing the royal officers 
were sheltered by the heathen chiefs ; their surrender was 
demanded, and in some instances refused. The king remon- 
strated and forbore to strike, while the Missionaries held back 
the injured Christians from retaliation ; they visited the rebel 
leaders, and strongly warned and expostulated with them. But 
the latter grew more sullen and defiant ; sounding the war-drum 
they made preparations to attack Nukualofa. George delayed 
to the last moment the levying of his forces, though he ran the 
risk of seeing his people massacred. This condition of suspense 
lasted until March, 1852. The superintendent Minister 
of Nukualofa at this anxious season was William Webb, 
one of the heroes of the Friendly Islands Mission, who is com- 
memorated in the Minutes of Conference as ' an energetic, 
faithful, and devoted Missionary of the Cross.' His career 
dated, with that of Francis Wilson and George Kevern, from 
1839 ; like these, too, he was an old Hoxton student. For 
several years Webb occupied the lonely island station of Tugua, 
in the Haabai Circuit. J Overborne by the stress of this crisis, 
he succumbed to an attack of fever and died suddenly, leaving 
his colleagues and people in the deepest sorrow. 

Christians now began to be waylaid and killed by murderous 
bands of the heathen, amongst them a good woman who had 
gone on foot from Hihifo to Nukualofa to assist Mrs. Webb 
during the illness of her husband. She was cut down by an 
axe on the roadside as she returned home — a murder shocking 
even to the heathen conscience. The conversion of Tungi of 
Mua, which took place in 1850, was followed by another event 
of the same kind, which enraged the heathen party. Hafoka 
of Houma was known as a hater of the lotu ; but, as he relates, 
a voice came to him, ' speaking day and night,' which said 
' Hafoka, rise and leave this place, and go to the Christians '; 
and he obeyed. Secretly he resorted to a village chief and 
Christian teacher of the name of Moala, a distant relative of 
his own, whom West describes as ' one of the choicest converts 
in the whole of Tonga.' With Moala he lived for some time, 
seeking guidance in the new way. At length his duty was 

1 Here he and Thomas West had a narrow escape from drowning in 1847, which 
the latter graphically describes in his Ten Years in South-Central Polynesia t pp. 64-68 


clear, and he confessed Christ before the church in Moala's 
village. Addressing the Missionary, Hafoka said : 

I have been a wicked man, a persecutor. But now I have bowed 
the knee to Jehovah. ... I had many friends in Houma. My wife 
and children, lands and property, are there ; but I have forsaken all 
that I might come and worship God here. ... I cannot return to 
heathenism ; and if my wife and children will not come to me here, I 
am even content to lose all for the sake of Jesus Christ. 

The Houma chiefs invited him to return home. He professed 
his loyalty, but declared he could not come back without 
permission to practise his religion freely. Upon this Vaea, 
the ruling chief of Houma, sent an armed party to seize Hafoka, 
who escaped their hands. His rank and property were con- 
fiscated. Being on a visit to Hihifo (now Christian) about 
this time, King George interposed in Hafoka's case, and granted 
him land at Fatai, not far from Houma, where the exile's 
family and friends gathered round him and a considerable 
village sprang up. x Fatai became, in fact, a Methodist settle- 
ment, to which a stream of converts was drawn from Houma. 
The old Houman chief Vaea, who had of late years exerted 
a moderating influence, fell mortally sick. Though visited 
by the Missionary shortly before his decease, he died, as he 
had lived, a heathen, but with his dying breath urged those 
about him to accept the lotu, or at least to live at peace with 
the Christians. His successor spurned this advice, and pre- 
cipitated the conflict with King George. All this had come 
about before Mr. Webb's death. 

The Mission in Tonga-tabu, which had now reached its 
highest point of slowly won success, suffered grievously from 
the political disturbance ; scarcely anywhere outside Nukualofa 
and Hihifo were the lives of Christians safe on the island. With 
the beginning of April the king mustered his forces. Unless 
he wished to see the Christian people of the island butchered 
there was no other way ; forbearance had been strained to its 
utmost limit. After driving the enemy from the open with 
considerable loss on both sides, in order to avoid further blood- 
shed the king resolved to reduce Houma and Bea by siege, 
although his troops were prepared for an overwhelming assault. 

1 This convert's story is briefly and well told in Hafoka : A Missionary Tale of 
the South Sea Islands (Mason, i860). 


Houma was the first of the heathen forts to succumb, surrender- 
ing early in July. The king granted an amnesty, partly on 
Hafoka's intercession ; the conquered expected a massacre, 
such as would have infallibly ensued had victory fallen to 
their side ; only the leading rebel chiefs were deposed. Neither 
executions nor confiscation of property took place. This un- 
deserved clemency won the heart of the Houmans to the lotu ; 
one hundred of the townsmen publicly renounced idolatry at 
the act of Christian worship following the entrance of the 
victorious army. 

The investment of Bea was now pressed with redoubled 
vigour. In this place the rebels were buoyed up with the hope 
of foreign aid, and so held out the longer. Early in the war a 
Roman priest of Bea sailed for Tahiti, with the declared in- 
tention of bringing a French man-of-war to the help of the 
insurgents. On August 8 a warship was sighted, of uncertain 
nationality ; the king's troops had orders to storm Bea instantly 
if she proved to be French. It was Her Britannic Majesty's 
ship Calliope, which speedily drew up to the town. The 
commander, after making inquiries from both sides, proposed 
a peace based on the terms granted to Houma, to which 
stipulations were added for the demolition of the fortification 
of both towns. Seeing their position hopeless, the enemy 
promised submission ; but while conditions were being ar- 
ranged a division of the besiegers, finding the defence slack, 
had pierced the stockade and made their way into the town. 
Its sack was prevented with the utmost difficulty, for the royal 
troops had been exasperated by the behaviour of the enemy, 
and a number of them were heathen, who counted on the 
customary rewards of victory. There was some destruction 
of property, but no loss of fife, in the capture of Bea. 

Thus the last stronghold of heathenism in Tonga fell ; 
the succession of conflicts which thus eventuated had been 
absolutely forced upon the Christian king ; it befell the heathen 
party according to the word of Christ, that ' they who take 
the sword shall perish by the sword.' From this date idolatry, 
as a public institution, has ceased to exist in the Friendly 
Islands. The chiefs of Bea, like those of Houma, bowed to 
Jehovah, finding His servants merciful, and believing that 
the Heavenly Father would 'forgive their trespasses,' since 
His children had proved themselves forgiving toward those 


who had inflicted on them the most grievous wrongs. The 
Romish priests alone, who had been abettors of the rebellion 
from the beginning, hating Methodism more than heathenism, 
and unable to brook the existence of a Protestant Native 
Government, refused to be pacified. 

A French warship at last arrived, in November, 1852, with 
the priest on board who had gone to Tahiti to lodge his 
complaints. The commander, Captain Belland, brought in- 
structions from the Tahiti Governor to inquire into the late 
proceedings in Tonga. King George and Mr. West, the 
Methodist Missionary, appeared before him. He was an 
upright and discerning man, and soon found out where the 
truth lay. The mischief-making priest was deported ; and 
the captain gave warning that the same, or severer, punish- 
ment would be dealt by the French Government to any offender, 
' whether priest or layman,' who should act as M. Calignon 
had done. King George's bearing and conduct throughout 
the inquiry raised a great admiration in the honourable French 
sailor's mind. 

I have seen and conversed with many chiefs in the South Sea Islands 
[he said], but I have never met his equal. 1 

Popery was now at a heavy discount in Bea, its centre for so 
long ; ' the word of the Lord had free course and was glorified ' 
from end to end of Tonga-tabu, as in the rest of the Friendly 
Islands. By the year 1853 this Circuit exceeded the other two 
in the number of its constituency, counting above two thousand 
Church members in its Societies. Hihifo, Mua, Houma, and 
Bea had successively, through peace or war, followed the 
example of Nukualofa, and yielded themselves to the dominion 
of Christ. 

John Thomas saw the evangelization of the Friendly Islands 
completed within his ministry of thirty-three years. His 
strength, never robust, failed toward the end of the forties ; 
his wife's health, too, was broken. They left the islands early 

1 Du Bouzet, the Governor of Tahiti, appears to have regarded Belland's settle- 
ment as too favourable to the Tongan authorities. In January, 1855, he visited King 
George himself, with a couple of war-vessels, bringing back the deported priest 
Calignon, when he insisted on the drawing up of a Convention between France and 
Tonga. In this treaty it was laid down, amongst other more agreeable stipulations, 
that ' the Catholics ' should be ' free in all the islands ' under Tubou's jurisdiction — 
an agreement which the Roman priests would have used to cover their old political 
machinations. The people, however, were now proof against their insidious arts, and 
their religious proselytism made a comparatively slight impression. 


in 1850, and reached England a year later. Here, however, 
Thomas would not rest ; his home, he said, was in Tonga. 
There, also, was the grave of his only child, a boy of eight years 
old, who died at Nukualofa in 1843. With vigour somewhat 
restored, this devoted couple returned to the islands in 1856, 
and resumed their labours. But growing infirmities compelled 
them finally to desist, and toward the end of the year 1859 they 
took their last farewell of their beloved Tongans. Thomas 
Adams succeeded to the vacated Chair of the District. Thomas 
was spared to see his eighty-fifth year, and enjoyed compara- 
tively good health in the last stage of his toilsome life, passing 
away in great peace on January 29, 1881. Some time before 
this Tongan Methodism celebrated the Jubilee of its origin, 
when the old Missionary's children sent him a grateful and 
liberal gift in money, which cheered his heart and eased the 
closing steps of his long pilgrimage. 

After the quelling of the last rebellion, King George paid a 
visit to Sydney in the year 1853 ; he sailed on board the mis- 
sionary ship, the John Wesley, and looked in upon Thakombau 
of Fiji by the way. His intercession with the great Fijian 
chief, and the subsequent letter which George wrote to him 
from Tonga, helped to decide Thakombau's long-delayed 
profession of Christianity. It was two years after this that 
the Tongan king paid to the Fijians the state visit so important 
in its results for Fiji. 

These voyages completed, and foreign affairs settled to his 
mind, the king devoted himself to internal reforms. He had 
much trouble in getting the elder chiefs to submit to the 
curtailment of their traditional prerogatives ; but at length, 
in 1862, he was able to promulgate an enlarged and improved 
edition of the Vavauan code of twenty-three years before, 
which was now extended to the whole of the islands. Con- 
stitutional liberty, and government by fixed law and judicial 
system, were thus conferred on the people. The Tongan code, 
which is found printed at length in the supplement to the 
Wesley an Missionary Report for 1863, is a remarkable specimen 
of modern legislation, and furnishes a rare example of the 
systematic attempt to apply Christianity to the framing of a 
people's laws. Its creation gives proof of no small political 
capacity in King George and the little Tongan nation. 

With this signal event our story of the Tongan Mission and 


the establishment of Christianity in the Friendly Islands must 
close. In 1854 Methodist Missions in the South Seas were 
taken over by the newly constituted Australasian Conference, 
and became a part of Affiliated Colonial Methodism. The 
subsequent course of events in the Friendly Islands — including 
the work of Tongan Missionaries in Fiji and other parts of 
Polynesia, the later years of King George's protracted reign, 
the progress of Tongan civilization, the strange career of the 
Missionary Shirley W. Baker, the setting up of the Tongan 
' Free Church,' the establishment of the British Protectorate 
— belongs to the history of the daughter Church. 



Samoans — The first Christian — The Lotu Tonga — L.M.S. Visitors — 
Tahitian Teachers — Turner in Samoa — A Compact between the 
Societies — Dismay of the Samoans — An impartial Judgement — 
Intervention of King George — Action of the Australian Conference. 

Samoa is the Native name, now universally adopted, for the 
cluster formerly designated the Navigators' Islands. This 
Polynesian group holds a central position 250 miles distant 
from Tonga north by east, and y° nearer the Equator. Few 
in number, the Samoan Islands greatly exceed the Tongan in 
size ; Savaii, the largest of them, covers twice the area of all 
the Friendly Islands put together. Their comparatively 
mountainous surface renders them, however, less densely 
habitable. At the present date the population is under 40,000 ; 
formerly it must have been above this mark. The eight north- 
western islands of the group, including the two largest, were 
assigned by the convention of 1900 to Germany 1 ; the remaining 
six, lying to the south-east, which furnish the one first-rate 
harbour of Samoa, are in the possession of the United States. 
Previously to this partition the islanders were under a triple 
Protectorate, in which Great Britain shared with the two 
countries named ; but this arrangement was abandoned as 

The quarrelsomeness and tribal factions of the Samoans, 
breeding misgovernment and disturbance of trade, early 
brought about foreign interference. Their chiefs exercised 
a local authority resembling that of their class in Tonga ; but 
they lacked corporate feeling and solidarity ; no single royal 
clan existed here such as that which united the sister islands. 
As sailors and traders the Samoans are surpassed by their 

1 German Samoa was one of the first enemy colonies to be taken over by Great 
Britain in the present war (1916), being seized within a few weeks of its commence- 
ment by a New Zealand expeditionary force. It is right to say that the German 
Government here behaved well to the English Missionaries and encouraged their work, 
which continued uninterrupted by the outbreak of the war. 



southern neighbours. They are near akin to the Tongans in 
race, representing probably the primitive stock from which 
the latter nation, along with the Maoris and other Polynesian 
tribes, derived their blood. The similar appearance, disposi- 
tion, and speech of the two peoples bespeak their common 
origin ; this close kinship has an important bearing on the 
story of the present chapter. The language of these islands 
is musical, and rich for an uncivilized people; it has been 
styled ' the Italian of the Pacific.' Samoan is at once the 
most archaic and the most finished of the Polynesian tongues. l 
In manners, however, and in social cultivation, they were 
distinctly superior. Dr. George Brown, who lived in the 
islands for many years, describes them as ' the politest people 
in the world ' ; elsewhere he speaks of his Samoan friends as 
' amongst the nicest and most lovable people I have ever 
known.' Robert Louis Stevenson bore a similar affection 
for the islanders amongst whom he spent his last days ; his love 
for them was fully reciprocated. 

They are easy [he says], merry, and pleasure-loving ; the gayest, 
though far from being the most capable or the most beautiful, of 
Polynesians. Fine dress is a passion with them ; song is almost 
ceaseless. 1 

The writer in the Encyclopaedia Britannica sums up the 
Samoan character as that of a people ' simple, honourable, 
generous, and hospitable, but brave fighters — the most perfect 
type of Polynesians.' It is scarcely to be wondered that two 
Missionary Societies set their affections on a race of such 
attractive qualities, and that some rivalry arose in the work 
of winning them for Christ. 

In virtue of their ties of blood and their geographical 
proximity, intercourse between the Tongans and Samoans 
had been customary from time immemorial. Links of inter- 
marriage were numerous, and Tongan traders and colonists 
settled freely in Samoa. This communication, as in the case 
of Fiji, supplied a ready channel for the transmission of the 
Gospel. The first Samoan Christian was a native of Savaii, 

1 Martin Dyson, who found Samoan volubility trying, stigmatizes them as ' the 
most loquacious of Polynesians.' 

1 A Footnote to History : Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa. This sympathetic 
and charmingly written account of Samoan affairs in the eighties reveals much of the 
inwardness of Polynesian life. 


converted at Nukualofa on a visit there in 1828. Returning 
home, this man (Savaia) became a Missionary to his neighbours ; 
through his testimony, seconded by that of several Tongan 
Methodists who came to Samoa about the same time, the 
knowledge of the lotu soon spread over a considerable area, 
and it became a subject of general inquiry. 

The Tongan Missionaries were quickly informed of these 
occurrences. In Nathaniel Turner's report to the Missionary 
Committee dated June, 1829, he couples the Navigators' 
Islands and Fiji together as fields approachable from Tonga, 
and as hopeful spheres for future labour. Three years later 
the Tonga Synod ' recommends to the Committee the 
Navigators' Islands as ' a ' delightful opening for the establish- 
ment of a new mission,' quoting a petition received from a 
Samoan chief to that effect. So assured were the Wesleyan 
Missionaries in 1832 of the imminence of this step — the obvious 
consequence of their success in the sister islands — that they 
had ' already begun to prepare a book of instructions ' for 
the guidance of the men to be sent to the new field. The 
Samoan chief Tui, who conveyed the petition above referred 
to, went home bearing the promise that the desired boon would 
be granted ere long ; in anticipation of the Missionary's coming 
he advertised the lotu to the best of his power, doing this so 
effectively that 

in three years from the time of Tui's return from Tonga there were 
forty villages and hamlets in Savaii, and twenty-five in Upolu (the 
second largest island), that had turned from the worship of aitu (idols) 
to worship the living God. 1 

Christianity, for the Samoans, was associated in the first 
instance entirely with the Friendly Islands, and went by the 
name of the ' lotu Tonga.' When Peter Turner landed on 
Samoan soil in 1835 he found 2,000 Natives already professing 
this lotu, and as many more came over to it, casting away their 
idols, in the course of his first journey round the islands. 

A great and effectual door stood open to the Methodist 
Mission in the Navigators' Islands. At the time of the open- 
ing of that door neither the Missionaries in the Friendly Islands 
nor the Missionary Committee in England apprehended any 

1 See My Story of Samoan Methodism (1875), by Martin Dyson. Mr. Dyson was 
the first Missionary sent by the Australasian Conference in 1857 to take charge of the 
then derelict Methodist community. He writes in a judicial spirit, and records his 
facts with evident care and accuracy. 


bar against their entrance. The way was prepared of the 
Lord ; nothing could well be clearer than the leadings of Divine 
providence in this direction. The lotu Tonga in Samoa was a 
child of the Friendly Islands Mission, and had every right to 
look for its guidance and support. Two thousand Methodist 
converts were crying out for the Methodist ministry ; if their 
faith was crude and their Christian practice rudimentary, 
and if their motives were greatly mixed, the infantile condition 
of these her spiritual children appealed all the more strongly 
to the compassion of the mother Church. Everything pointed 
to the extension of the Tongan missionary field to Samoa with 
the least possible delay, and the Missionary Committee, in 
its reply to the report of the Tongan Synod on the subject, 
directed its agents to go forward. » The Synod counted, there- 
fore, on the Committee's approval when it sent Peter Turner 
to Samoa in 1835. The welcome this man of God received, 
and the instant and wonderful success of his first preaching 
on the new field, gave the highest encouragement to the under- 
taking. ' The Lord ' was ' working with ' His servants and 
' confirmed the word by signs following.' 

The happy prospect was suddenly overcast in a most 
untoward fashion. We related in chapter ii. above the pleasant 
visit paid by Messrs. Williams and Barff, of the London Mission, 
to Tonga-tabu in the year 1830, and noted the agreement 
the former of these Missionaries believed to have been made 
on that occasion between himself and Nathaniel Turner, to 
the effect that Fiji, with the whole of the Friendly Islands, 
should be regarded as the province of the Wesleyan Society, 
while the Navigators' Islands were reserved for the London 
Mission. Turner, who was then at the head of Methodist 
affairs in Tonga, always denied having entered into the alleged 
compact ; no such suggestion, he declared, was present to his 
mind in his conversation with Mr. Williams. The subsequent 
action of Turner's colleagues in the Tonga District shows that 
they were unaware of any understanding of the nature 
supposed. Before the appearance of Williams and Barff in 
this part of the Pacific, the Wesleyan Missionaries were already 
in touch with Samoa through members of their Tongan flocks, 

1 See the Annual Report of the W.M.M.S. for 1833, p. 43 : ' The brethren of the 
District will adopt the best measures their circumstances will allow for improving the 
favourable opportunity which is presented for introducing Christianity into the 
Navigators' Islands.' 


and were looking forward to entrance on that field. They 
commended the designs of their brethren for the benefit of the 
Samoans, never dreaming that by this approval they excluded 
themselves from activity in the same direction — that they 
would be bound henceforth to prevent Tongan Methodism 
from sending its branches over the wall into Samoa. 

However, the two explorers of the London Mission sailed 
on to Samoa with the intention of planting the Gospel there, 
and apparently presuming themselves the first heralds of the 
Gospel in that region. Here lay the mark of the whole voyage, 
for which great preparations and sacrifices had been made. 

My mind [Williams writes] had for some time been contemplating 
the extension of our labours to the Navigators' Islands and the 
New Hebrides ; and as far back as 1824 I wrote to the Directors of the 
Missionary Society upon the subject. 1 

It was difficult for a man of comprehensive plans and deter- 
mined purpose, like John Williams, to realize the fact that 
he had been anticipated in his cherished project by the force 
of circumstances, and to recognize that the surrender of the 
Friendly Islands to the companion Mission would naturally 
involve the handing over of the Navigators' Group besides. 
The eagerness with which this great Missionary's heart had 
been bent upon Samoa accounts for his misinterpretation of 
the words exchanged with Turner on the subject, and for his 
disregard of the ties linking the Navigators to the Friendly 
Islanders, in virtue of which Christianity already bore amongst 
the former people the name of ' the lotu Tonga.' 

Williams and Barff found residing in Tonga-tabu a Samoan 
chief named Fauea, wishful to return to his native land, who, 
though not a convert, was well disposed to the new religion, 
and proposed to accompany the travellers and introduce them 
to his friends. Under Fauea's guidance they landed at 
Sapapalii, in Savaii, the town of Malietoa, a dominant chieftain 
of the island, * to whom their conductor was related. Malietoa 

1 See Williams' Missionary Enterprises, pp. 142 ff. and 570 ff. The Navigators' 
Islands occupy a large part of this famous missionary volume. 

* Malietoa was an hereditary title, borne by the head of a family which claimed 
extensive, if not exclusive, suzerainty in the Samoan group. The civil war of fifty 
years later, described by P.. L. Stevenson in his Footnote to History, turned on the 
rights of the Malietoa of that period. There were, Stevenson says, ' two royal lines,' 
with ' some cloudy idea of alternation between the two.' But, as he shows, when the 
claims of the rival houses were adjusted and the rightful sovereign installed, his power 
was limited and ineffective ; see chap. i. of the Footnote. Like other Samoan dissen- 
sions, the divisions arising between the Churches appeared to have followed largely 
the cleavage between the royal factions which dominated the island politics. 


had heard favourably of the lotu, but had not hitherto come 
into contact with it. He proved friendly and hospitable, and 
pledged himself to ' become a worshipper of Jehovah ' on the 
conclusion of the war in which he was then engaged. So 
satisfied were the Missionaries with the assurances they 
received from Malietoa that they left in his country, under his 
protection, eight of the Tahitian teachers who accompanied 
them — six for Savaii and two for Upolu — with good hopes of 
a favourable hearing from the people, so soon as they had 
mastered the new dialect. 1 During their short sojourn in 
the islands the two pioneers did not encounter any of the little 
company already professing the lotu Tonga, who lived outside 
of Malietoa's district. But the welcome accorded to them, 
and the facility with which their purpose was effected, were 
manifestly due to the reports of Fauea and others about the 
acceptance of the new religion in the Friendly Islands, and 
to the impression the lotu Tonga had already made on the 
Samoan mind. 

The Tahitian teachers were diligent and zealous, and 
endeavoured to push their work beyond the bounds of 
Malietoa's territory. Their patron objected to this. ' My 
foreigners,' he said, ' are not to be scattered among other 
tribes.' The Methodist chief Tui had invited them to his 
town, Satupaitea, an important centre in Savaii ; had the 
Tahitians come in answer to this invitation and commended 
themselves at Satupaitea, it is likely enough that in default 
of help from Tonga Tui's people would have accepted their 
ministrations. In that case the incipient lotu Tonga might 
have merged itself peacefully in the lotu Tahiti, and 
competition would have been obviated. But this was not 
to be. 

The Satupaiteans were affronted by Malietoa's prohibition, 
to which the teachers from Tahiti submitted ; they vowed to 
have no further dealings with the London Mission. From 
this little rift — the outcome, in the first instance, of chiefly 
jealousy, associated with dislike of the ' foreign ' Tahitian 

1 See the work above cited, chap. xix. While the three languages belong to the 
same general Polynesian stock, the Samoan and Tahitian are much more remote than 
the Samoan and Tonguese. A man of the latter speech can readily make himself 
understood amongst the Samoans. This approximation in language gave a great 
advantage to Missionaries coming from Tonga, and contained in itself a strong reason 
for associating the Navigators' Islands, for missionary purposes, with Tonga rather 
than Tahiti. 


influence — sprang the divergence which widened into an im- 
passable gulf. It was after the rebuff from Sapapalii that Tui 
sailed to Nukualofa with the petition for a Methodist Mis- 
sionary. The request came from a tribe which the London 
Society's agents had declined to visit, and which had received 
the Gospel already through Methodist channels. Unfortunately 
our Mission in Tonga had no member of its staff available 
for Satupaitea just then ; nor was there any qualified Tongan 
evangelist to spare. For three years Tui and his band of 
Tongan-Samoan Methodists were left to their unaided resources. 
Shortly after this episode an influential chief of Upolu, named 
Tuioneula, publicly adopted the lotu Tonga and associated 
himself with Tui, of Satupaitea. Satapuala, Tuioneula's 
town, became a second centre of Methodism; hundreds of 
Upolu Natives renounced heathenism under Tuioneula's 
leadership. He, too, was an opponent of Malietoa, and the 
two lotus became further involved in the tribal feuds of 
the islands. ' Christ was preached ' in Savaii and Upolu 
in some degree, it must be confessed, ' out of faction.' 
The result was, writes Dyson, that ' the twin sects grew 
up together without either mutual support or counten- 

At this stage the Methodist plant, though a wilding shoot 
left untended, was decidedly the more flourishing of the two. 

During the first six years of its existence in Samoa (1829-35) [says 
Dyson] Methodism, without guide, overseer, or ruler, had penetrated 
into one-fifth of the villages and hamlets of the whole group. The 
movement, half sustained and independent of foreign aid, had begun 
and continued outside of the London Society's influence, and widely 
separated from its people. It had grown into a Mission the like of 
which in other places many years of toil and expense had failed to 
accomplish. Churches had been built, and congregations were col- 
lected ; and, if it had been possible, the poor heathen in this instance 
would have given a practical answer to the Apostle's question, ' How, 
then, shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed ? . . . 
and how shah 1 they hear without a Preacher ? ' If ever the Lord set 
before the Methodist people an open door which no man should have 
shut, surely this was one. 1 

John Williams visited the Navigators' Islands again in 1832 ; 
a third visit was made on behalf of the London Society in 1834, 

1 My Story, pp. 14, *5- 


before the settlement of European Missionaries in the 
islands. On each of these occasions the visitors appear to 
have concerned themselves with the constituency of the 
lotu Tahiti alone, regarding the lotu Tonga as outside their 
province. x 

The Tongan Wesleyan leaders had as imperative a call to go 
over and help their needy people in Samoa as could well come 
to any body of Christian Ministers. The misfortune was that 
they were not in a position to respond to it sooner. They made 
a great sacrifice — too great for the interests of their work in 
Tonga — when in the beginning of the year 1835 they set Peter 
Turner free for the field ' white unto harvest.' The appoint- 
ment was made in anticipation of the sanction of the Home 
Committee, which had three years ago directed the Tonga 
Synod to extend its care to the Navigators' Islands. The 
Synod was unaware that any change of policy had taken place 
in London. It had not outrun its instructions, but had 
regrettably delayed their execution. 

Turner was charged to avoid trenching on ground occupied 
by the sister Mission, to organize the Societies already bearing 
the Methodist name, and to make these the basis of evangel- 
istic work amongst the heathen. He and his wife landed on 
the island of Manono (lying between Savaii and Upolu) on 
June 18, 1835. He came fresh from the glorious experiences 
of the Tongan revival of the previous year, and had spent 
several months on the way at Niua-tabu, witnessing scenes of 
similar enthusiasm there. ' Full of the Holy Ghost and of 
faith,' and speaking freely in a language (the Tonguese) familiar 
to many of the Samoan folk and in some measure intelligible 
to them all, this ardent Missionary was able to respond at once 
to the longing of the people to hear the good Word of God. A 
few weeks were occupied in Manono, where the Turners lived 
on the kindliest terms with the resident Tahitian teacher Teava. 
Here the Missionary was visited, and recognized as their 
Superintendent, by the chiefs and office-bearers of the lotu 
Tonga from all quarters. He was overwhelmed with 

1 Williams devotes five most interesting chapters of his Missionary Enterprises 
(xxiv.-xxviii.) to the second visitation of the Navigators' Islands ; throughout these 
ninety pages he makes not the slightest reference to the presence of any other body 
of Christians in Samoa but his own, although adherents of the lotu Tonga at tnat date 
must have been considerable in number and influence, and he cannot have been 
unaware of their existence, nor of the communications between them and his 
Tahitian agents. 


applications for the five Tongan teachers who were his 
companions. * Three of these he left in Manono. 

Mr. and Mrs. Turner now removed to Satupaitea, where a 
house was built for them ; this became the Methodist head 
quarters. Two-thirds of the Satupaitean people, who numbered 
a thousand or more, were declared Wesleyans. They received 
their Minister with embarrassing heartiness ; Tui was ' wild 
with joy.' The Missionary's aspect and spirit commended 
his message ; he spoke at once to the hearts of the people. 
This was the very man Samoa had been looking for. All doors 
were thrown open to him. Never had a Missionary a more 
triumphal progress than Peter Turner on his tour through the 
islands, commenced four months after his arrival. The power 
of God rested mightily upon him. Within twenty months the 
2,000 converts he found awaiting him had multiplied to 13,000 ! 

Eighty churches were built in as many villages. Four thousand 
persons were distributed into above 300 Classes ; and 1,000 teachers, 
themselves newly taught to read, were busy as bees in the midst of 
6,000 scholars (Dyson). 

Though this campaign necessarily lacked the deeper elements 
and more poignant manifestations of the long-prepared Tongan 
revival, much of the experience of 1834 in the sister-islands 
was repeated here ; the impulse of Turner's coming, and the 
peculiar power of his preaching, had started a mass-movement 
toward Christianity. Had the two Missions been able to com- 
bine their forces, the whole body of the islanders might forth- 
with have been won for Christ and drawn into the united 

Peter Turner was the first English Missionary to make his 
residence in Samoa. Shortly after his coming a fourth visit, 
somewhat protracted, was paid by London Missionaries from 

1 The most notable of the five was Barnabas Ahogolu, who exercised a salutary 
influence amongst the Samoans in later years. When the Methodist Mission was 
closed, Ahogolu joined the London Society's staff, on Turner's advice ; but he found 
himself ill at ease, and returned home to Tonga. He came back to his former work 
in 1857, on the restoration of Methodism, to which he rendered incalculable service. 
Dyson and Brown both refer to him in grateful terms. The latter described Ahogolu 
as ' a strong, rugged man,' who ' stood like a rock unmoved in the midst of storms. 
. . . His opinions were weighty, and fortified by shrewd observations and strong 
common sense.' He was ' a model Native Minister and pastor,' and lived to old age 
in his adopted country, passing away in the year 1881. There was something superior 
and commanding about the best of the Friendly Islanders, which other Polynesian 
tribes generally recognized. Few Christian nations, in proportion to their size, have 
produced so many Missionaries as the Tongan. 


other islands ; the visitors held themselves aloof, neither 
assisting nor interfering with the Methodist leader. The great 
trouble began with the landing, in June, 1836, of six young men 
of the London Society fresh from England, armed with an 
instrument for the ejection of the interloper. They brought 
a copy of the compact made between the two Societies in 
London, dating from February of that year, on the strength 
of which they had come to take complete occupation of the 
Navigators' Islands. These gentlemen invited Mr. Turner to 
hand over to them the direction of the thousands of souls 
brought to the knowledge of God by his ministry, and to wind 
up Methodist affairs in Samoa. Upon his demur, with the 
insolence of youth they served on him by letter notice to quit. 
Turner, who had no inkling of the negotiations carried on in 
London, was thunderstruck. He could only reply that he was 
unaware of the offence with which he was taxed, and must 
await the instructions of his own Society. Immediately 
Turner wrote to Hatton Garden asking for an explanation. He 
related the circumstances of his appointment to Samoa, 1 
concerning which the Mission House was by this time informed ; 
he related the work that God had wrought through his coming ; 
he asked if his Mission was to be arrested, and the Methodist 
Church raised up in Samoa to be disowned ; he implored 
the Secretaries and Committee for a reprieve, begging 
them to find some escape from the fatal compact, if it 
actually had been made. 

The sad agreement [he said afterwards] nearly broke my heart. . . . 
I grew grey prematurely over it, and got a head as white as flax at the 
age of forty ! If writing this with my blood [he declared to the Com- 
mittee] would be the means of your retaining the Mission, how gladly 
would I do it ; or if my prostrating myself on my bended knees before 
you would avail, how would I rejoice to do it ! 

The Missionary's distressful appeal was in vain ! ' We have 
made this engagement with the Loridon Society,' replied the 
Secretaries, ' and we cannot draw back.' 

1 It appears that the General Secretaries, on being apprised of the intention to 
send Turner to Samoa, had written to veto this arrangement and to leave Samoa alone, 
having resolved to give their full strength in the South Seas to the Fiji Islands ; but 
the counter-order arrived too late. When they closed with the proposals of Williams 
and the L.M.S. early in 1836 they presumed that the Tonga Synod was acting on the 
above instruction. This was a sensible plan, had it only been decided upon in good 
time, and had not the Tongan Missionaries previously, with the Committee's approval, 
pledged themselves to Samoa. Evidently they did not realize the fact that success 
in Tonga entailed responsibilities toward Samoa. 


Out of its diminutive staff the Synod had sent Matthew 
Wilson to assist Turner on receiving the news of his extra- 
ordinary success. It was confident that the Missionary Com- 
mittee, when fully informed of the facts, would sanction the 
further sacrifice. On finding its action disowned instead of 
being endorsed at Hatton Garden, the Synod addressed a 
strongly worded remonstrance 1 to the Committee, in reply 
to which the following resolution was passed in London (dated 
December 6, 1837) : 

That Mr. P. Turner and colleague or colleagues who may have 
subsequently joined him are affectionately but positively required to 
suspend forthwith their operations in the Navigators' Islands. 

The Native converts in Samoa, devotedly attached to Mr. 
Turner, heard the news of his recall and the suspension of the 
Methodist Mission with dismay. For them ' it was,' writes 
Dyson, ' as though an iceberg had struck their vessel, and now 
she must be abandoned.' 1 Their displeasure against the lotu 
Tahiti, which had robbed them of their father in Christ, was 
intense. No power on earth, they declared, would make them 
take these men for their pastors, or adopt the change in their 
religion which was being forced upon them. Turner did his 
best to reconcile them to the transfer and to allay the excite- 
ment. His persuasions were now of little avail. The people 
felt themselves wronged and deserted, and insulted besides by 
the complete ignoring of their own views and preferences. 
There was something extravagant and childish in the de- 
monstrations which took place, and a jealous partisanship 
much to be deplored ; the Samoans were morally but 
children, and unequal to the shock which had come upon 

An assembly, widely attended by other islanders, was held 
at Manono to consider the question. Joel, the brother of 
King George of Tonga, was present, as well as Mr. Turner. 
Addressing the former, the principal spokesman said : 

Our minds are very much pained with the news from England that 
Mr. Turner and Mr. Wilson must leave Samoa. Mr. Turner tells us to 

1 The Synod resolutions described the enterprise in the Navigators' Islands as 
' one of the most prosperous Missions ever commenced,' and spoke of the suggested 
abandonment as ' suicidal.' Such a policy of retreat might well react dangerously 
upon the work in the Friendly Islands. 

s See My Story, p. 25. 


join the other Missionaries ; but we cannot do so. . . . Our friends do 
not know how difficult Samoa is. We have not one king here, but we all 
do what we please. Are there not many different sects in England ? 
Then why should the people of England wish us to have only one here ? 
The Tahitian teachers were here long before Mr. Turner, but they never 
sought us. But when Mr. Turner came, he voyaged round the islands, 
and many thousands became religious. How, then, can we go over to 
this people ? Joel, if Mr. Turner and Mr. Wilson go, we shall return to 
our foolish ways — to our dances and our many wives I 

The prediction proved only too true, and the compact of 
February, 1836, was disastrous for religion in Samoa. 

This is very bad of the people of England [the speaker continued] 
to take from us the true light and involve us in darkness, and perhaps 
in eternal ruin ! 

Turning to the Missionary, the chief rehearsed what he had 
done for the benighted Samoans in this short time, and 
expressed their gratitude toward him, imploring him 
not to forsake them in their groping toward the light, 
since these other guides were repugnant to them and 

Have you no love for us ? [he cried] Will you leave us to go astray ? 
Do you expect us to join the other Missionaries ? Mr. Turner, we 
cannot do it. If you leave us, we will die with love to you, and our 
spirits shall follow you on the mighty deep ! If you go we shall seek 
another Tongan. 

Once more appealing to Joel, and through him to the people of 
the Friendly Islands, this masterly speaker said : 

Will Tonga throw us away ? We are your friends, your sons and 
daughters ; you know that Tonga chiefs are chiefs here, and Samoa 
chiefs are chiefs at Tonga. And shall we be separated by the lotu, or by 
our lotu relatives in England ? No ; no ; no ! . . . What do we know 
of Tahiti ? What communications had the Tahitians with us, or with 
Tonga ? We only heard of Tahiti last night. 

Never was a Missionary placed in a more cruel dilemma. 
Every word of the Manono protest went to his heart. He 
knew well that behind it there was the feeling and fixed 
purpose of his 13,000 Samoan Methodists. Yet the Missionary 
Committee was inexorable ; its ' honour ' was concerned in 
his removal and the abandonment of this great flock which 


' would not follow strangers.' He was tempted to stay on, 
half feeling that to do this would be to ' obey God rather than 
men.' Had he taken such a course, few would have greatly 
blamed him. But his loyalty to Methodist order prevailed. 
With a bleeding heart, and under sad forebodings, Turner 
made his farewells. It was some time before means of transit 
could be procured. Mr. Williams arrived in the islands to 
superintend the execution of his plan. He sympathized with 
Mr. Turner, but was sure the arrangement made was for the 
best, and that the mourning people would get over their 
bereavement before very long. Mr. and Mrs. Turner accepted 
the passage offered them in Williams's missionary vessel, and 
so quitted their Samoan home for ever. A plot was dis- 
covered at the last moment to kidnap the beloved Missionary 
and carry him off into the bush, in order to detain him until 
the Camden had sailed ! Thus ended, in May, 1839, the strange 
episode of the planting of Methodism in the Navigators' 
Islands, in its issue an example of mistaken and mismanaged 
missionary comity. 

From every point of view this summary closing of our 
Mission in Samoa was lamentable. On the one side 
was the fact that Williams and Barff were the first 
European Missionaries to set foot on the Navigators' Island, 
and the Tahitian agents they left behind were the first 
authorized Christian teachers planted there. This led the 
London Society to regard the province as its own ; and it was 
prepared to expend upon it men and means sufficient for its 
full evangelization. On the other hand, the Gospel reached 
Samoa, originally and spontaneously, from Tonga ; the re- 
lationships and predilections of great numbers of the Samoans 
inclined them toward Tonga ; the Tonguese language afforded 
the readiest means of communication ; above all, the seal of 
the Spirit of God set on Peter Turner's work in the islands 
marked this out as a field designed for Methodist tillage. When 
the Hatton Garden Committee made the covenant of February, 
1836, it proceeded on a defective knowledge of its responsi- 
bilities in the case L ; it was totally unaware of recent events 
in Tonga and of the outcome of Peter Turner's Mission, which 

1 The L.M.S. officials were much better posted up at the time of these negotiations 
in South Sea affairs than were those of the W.M.M.S. ; they had John Williams on 
the spot, with his commanding influence and persuasive power. 


had entirely changed the situation. It accepted 1 Williams' 
perfectly honest but ex-parte report of the agreement made six 
years earlier with Nathaniel Turner, which fell in with its 
present views, without waiting for confirmation from its own 
representatives. The London Society, anxious about its 
position in Samoa, pressed for an immediate settlement ; the 
Wesleyan Society, with its thoughts bent on Fiji, was glad to 
know that Samoa would be well looked after ; to consult 
parties in Tonga and New Zealand would mean a year's 
delay ; why should Methodism play the part of ' dog in the 
manger ? ' Better settle the matter out of hand and be 
done with it ! 

It was a mistake such as the Wesleyan Mission House did 
not often commit, to decide a local question like this without 
taking into counsel its agents upon the field ; to settle it without 
inquiring into the disposition of the Native people concerned, 
and in ignorance of the fact that they had opinions and feelings 
on the subject, was a yet more serious blunder. The contract- 
ing parties proceeded like two political Great Powers who 
distribute islands at the Antipodes, or slice up African territories 
in sublime indifference to the views of the inhabitants. It 
so happened that the Samoan Christians had a will of their 
own, and did not choose to be handed over from one Society 
to another by the vote of a score of worthy gentlemen sitting 
round a board in London. The result was calculated to teach 
both Societies that their children from amongst the heathen 
possessed minds as well as souls ; they were not to be used as 

1 The Committee had before it the formidable task of missioning Fiji, and found 
itself unable to undertake Samoa and Fiji simultaneously. Nathaniel Turner seems 
to have been partly to blame for the lack of information at Hatton Garden. Williams 
had written to him in 1832 from Raiatea, after his voyage of exploration, stating his 
plans in regard to the Navigators' Islands, and quoting their conversation in Tonga- 
tabu as warranting himself in the assumption that the Wesleyan Mission would not 
meddle with that field. This important letter, to which Dyson refers in p. 23 of his 
Story, Turner failed to report to his superiors in London. He was then absorbed in 
New Zealand affairs, and probably dismissed the matter from his mind, presuming 
that his disclaimer of the supposed agreement, made in reply to Williams' letter, put 
an end to the mistaken assumption. Not till later in 1837 was the Wesleyan Mission 
House in possession of Nathaniel Turner's views upon the ' agreement.' Then it came 
out that his remarks to Williams touching Samoa made in July, 1830, bore solely on 
the stationing of the Tahitian teachers the latter had with him, who (Turner suggested) 
would be better employed in Samoa than in Fiji. So far as Turner could remember, 
the question of general policy, as to the division of labour between the two Societies, 
was never raised between them. That Williams himself had not, at the time of the 
voyage of 1830, the plan of delimitation alleged, appears to be evident from the fact, 
adduced by Dyson (see p. 23 of My Story), that ' after his interview with Mr. Turner 
he sent two of his (Tahitian) teachers to Fiji.' As Dyson says, Williams in his subse- 
quent recollections probably ante-dated ' his scheme of divided Mission labour,' and 
imputed to Nathaniel Turner the idea which Turner's observations had suggested to 


mere counters in ecclesiastical negotiations, to be bargained 
for and disposed of at the arbitration of others. Though born 
only the other day, the young Churches of Christ must be 
treated with respect and with care, as being vested already 
with something of the liberty of the sons of God. 

An impartial judge would come to the following conclusions, 
as we think, after examining the evidence in the above 
admonitory case of missionary diplomacy : 

(i) That Williams' major premiss was perfectly sound ; it 
was a waste of strength for two Missionary Societies to operate 
within the narrow field of Samoa. Unwholesome rivalry, if 
not positive collision, was likely to ensue. 

(2) That if a choice had to be made between the London 
Society working from Tahiti and the Methodist Society work- 
ing from Tonga (between the lotu Tahiti and the lotu Tonga, 
as the Samoans put it), the latter was in a better position to 
do the work required. The fact that Christianity spread in 
the first instance self-sown from the Friendly to the Navigators' 
Islands is sufficient proof of this. 

(3) That notwithstanding the natural ties connecting these 
two groups, and the facility with which the former country 
could be evangelized from the latter, when the London Society 
had set its heart upon this piece of work, and was prepared to 
carry it out in full strength, it would have been right for the 
other Society to retire from Samoa in its favour, provided the 
arrangement had been in good time and with the consent of 
all parties concerned. But that 

(4) When Tongan Methodism had been on the ground for 
six years, and had rooted itself in the affections of a large part 
of the Samoan tribes — above all, when Peter Turner's ministry 
had commended the Gospel in the form of the lotu Tonga 
throughout the islands and he had formed a Church of 4,000 
members, sure to be unsettled by the transference, and utterly 
averse to it — the proposal had come too late. Whatever 
misunderstanding or irregularity there had been about Turner's 
going to Ssamoa, the fact that he had gone, and had won this 
great flock for Christ, could not be undone. The London 
Missionaries should have rejoiced in it ; if they could not help 
the successful reaper in God's harvest field, they should at 
least have left him undisturbed with the people who were his 
work in the Lord. No Committee on earth had the right to 


thrust out these thousands of heathen converts from the Church 
of their birth. 

The Samoan Methodists had said to Mr. Turner, when he 
entreated them to accept the London Missionaries : « We will 
never go over to the other lotu.' Most of them were as good 
as their word. Abandoned by their pastors and teachers 
(tor the Tongan Wesleyan agents were withdrawn along with 
the two Missionaries), they attempted to feed and shepherd 
themselves, keeping up in their own chapels, by an imitation 
often pitiable enough, the round of Methodist services and 
usages of which they had had so brief an experience. 

There was no abatement of their zeal [says Dyson] and their numbers 
increased rather than diminished during the year 1839. At this time 
nearly all the ruling chiefs were Methodists, and many of the chiefs of 
secondary rank were Preachers. The ' Leaders ' appointed by Turner 

a ?l ?u° n remained ^ office ' and ^ each Society regulated the affairs 
of the Church. 

Conscious of their lack of guidance, and finding the Mis- 
sionary Society in England and the Missionaries in the Friendly 
Islands inexorable, the people turned in their distress to King 
George of Tonga, whom they knew to be their friend. In 1840 
a deputation of three respected chiefs and Church officers 
from some of the smaller islands arrived in Tonga, bringing a 
letter to the Missionaries and the King expressive of their 
unabated loyalty to the lotu Tonga. They begged the Mis- 
sionaries to supply them with Bibles. ' Do print a great many 
copies of the sacred writings and send them to us' the 
petitioners wrote. • Then they added : 

King George Taufa-ahau, if Samoa be thrown away by the Mis- 
sionaries, do you select some Tongan teachers and send them unto us 

^Z l n ^ by any meanS Change our minds - for our religion is well 
established . . . We have great love to Mr. Turner and Mr. Thomas— 
to all the Missionaries-and also to the King of Tonga and to the Tongan 
teachers. Have love to us, and send Missionaries to Samoa. 

Sorely against their will, the Missionaries turned a deaf ear 
to this petition. The policy of the Missionary Society prac- • 
tically meant starving its Samoan adherents into surrender 

othpr l?IJf arS th ' S ^nynunity doggedly refused to touch the Scripture versions and 
^-?™ literature supplied by the London Mission ; they would use nothing but the 
nn^tf l V SU Vl Crude *F ansla «ons which Turner had provided in h£ few mouths of 
SSuSShmenVjM SS« ^ "T " difficult y that «*? were indu™on the 
£« Tah K i ™ K Kl5 eth0dlSm m - 185 ?-, t? accept the excellent Samoan Bible of the 
totu lamti, the best version,' it is said, ' in all Polynesia.* 



to the lotu Tahiti by a famine of the Word of God ! King 
George ventured to differ from his spiritual advisers. He was 
no party to the pact of 1836, and most heartily disapproved 
of it. The Samoans were as his own flesh and blood — some 
of the leading Methodists there were his family relations ; he 
knew their honesty and their obstinacy. He determined to 
meet the request. The Missionaries had not the power, if 
they had the right, to prevent his action ; their veto would 
have resulted in the breaking up of the Tonga Church. A 
band of Tongan teachers was chosen, headed by Benjamin 
Latuselu, a man of exceptional ability and enterprise. Their 
business was first to inquire into the facts reported by the 
Samoan deputies. If they found the Methodists reconciled 
to the lotu Tahiti, or inclining to be so, they were to return 
immediately without interference, but to remain and render 
whatever help they could if the people were still without 
pastors. Latuselu and his companions landed in Samoa in 
1 841 and took over the direction of Methodism in the islands 
concerned, much to the satisfaction of those who had invited 

Seeing the success of their neighbours, the Methodists of 
Savaii and Manono resorted to the same plan. Four leading 
chiefs now appeared before King George, coming as ambassa- 
dors from these principal islands to lay the charge of the Metho- 
dist Church formally upon his shoulders ! By this time the 
king's sympathy was thoroughly enlisted, and he resolved to 
go and see with his own eyes how matters stood. The deputies 
returned home bringing His Majesty with them, accompanied 
by ten additional Tongan teachers. This was in July, 1842. 
The royal inspector was welcomed with enthusiasm ; he visited 
the principal towns and villages, preaching with apostolic zeal. 
Finally he attended a national concourse in Manono, at which 
a solemn covenant was taken, approved by 

a forest of uplifted hands, to maintain to death the Wesleyan Methodist 
religion, and to continue it in the same form in which Mr. Peter Turner 
left it. This extraordinary scene marked the high-water level of 
Methodism in Samoa, in respect of members and popularity, if not of 
spiritual power. 1 

To the distant observer these proceedings might appear 
theatrical and overdone— a sort of storm in a tea-cup ; but the 

1 Dvson's My Story, p. 36. 


forsaken Methodists were in desperate earnest. They were 
for making an experiment in Church government — a royal 
supremacy exercised by the king of a neighbouring country. The 
one thing on which they were resolved was to ' stand fast and 
hold the traditions they had received.' Their fidelity, however 
inconvenient and impracticable in the form it assumed, 
deserved a more considerate treatment than was accorded it by 
the heads of the Societies in England. King George was sus- 
pected of covert political designs in the course he took in this 
emergency ; by his ill-wishers he was supposed to be aiming at 
the sovereignty of Samoa, but there is no evidence of any such 
intention on his part. Had he been ambitious in that way, 
he knew too well the temper of the Samoans to entertain the 
project. On returning home he addressed an able statement 
upon the Samoan question to the Wesleyan Missionary 
Committee, concluding with this appeal : 

I most earnestly beg and beseech you, dear fathers whom we greatly 
love, that you will at length untie the words you have spoken and again 
send your Missionaries to Samoa. The friends in England are not able 
to change the minds of the people in Samoa or Tonga as to what religion 
they shall be of. 

The king's intercession was as useless as the rest ; the Missionary 
Committee was adamant toward Samoa ; its ' honour ' was at 
stake ! The Mission House does not seem to have made any 
attempt to obtain a release from, or a modification of, the 
agreement of 1836, although that agreement was confessedly 
drawn up in ignorance of the most material circumstances of 
the case. 

For several years after King George's visit the teachers from 
Tonga continued, under his general direction, given by corre- 
spondence and messenger, to conduct prosperously the affairs 
of the isolated Methodist Church in the islands. 

If they had only kept themselves free from political meddling [Dyson 
believes], they would have made Methodism the religion of Samoa ; and 
it would have been an utter waste of men, money, and time for the 
Missionaries of the London Society to remain in the group. 1 

The high-handed attempt of the latter in 1836-39 had alienated 
Samoan sentiment ; they had taken little by the deportation 

1 My Story, p. 36. Mr. Dyson was in a better position than any one else to 
acquaint himself with the facts of this agitated time. 


of Mr. Turner. The Tongan leaders stumbled, however, over 
the political stumbling-stone. Whether, or how far, King 
George was responsible for their blunder it is impossible to say ; 
under direction of this kind it was inevitable that Church 
affairs should in one way or another become involved with 
those of the State. This happened when, in 1847, Benjamin 
Latuselu, the foremost of the Tongan band, 1 allowed himself 
to be drawn into tribal intrigues, through which he alienated 
the best of his own people in Upolu and brought reproach on 
his Church throughout the islands. 2 Some of the offended 
families went over to the London Mission, others to the Roman 
Catholics, who had by this time secured a footing in Samoa. 

From this time the fate of Methodism was sealed. It now rapidly 
declined, and was soon outstripped and overcast by the kindred Society. 

Unf ailing discretion was not to be expected from the instructors 
Tonga supplied ; they regarded themselves, indeed, only as a 
stop-gap, and their authority was always imperfect and dis- 
putable. The European teaching and leadership enjoyed by 
the other Church was bound to tell in the long run, whatever 
the prejudice it suffered from at the outset. 

At this juncture a succession of tribal wars began in Samoa, 
which acted with demoralizing effect on the diminished 
Methodist flock. Heathen abominations were revived; the 
warnings of apostasy with which the wisest Samoan chiefs 
endeavoured to deter Turner and Wilson from withdrawing 
were shockingly fulfilled. Methodism fell at length into such 
contempt that in the island of Tutuila it was ' proscribed by 
the chiefs and burnt out of the place ! ' By the early fifties 

» Shortly before this occurrence Latuselu had visited Tonga and obtained ordina- 
tion there from the Wesleyan Missionaries, on the understanding that he should 
remain in the Friendly Islands serving as a Native Minister of the Tongan Church. 
Ossein's Surning to Samoa to firing away his ^y***™^£figg 
forcibly detained him and insisted on his exercising his enlarged ministry -for their 
Snefit He consented and assumed as an ordained pastor enhanced authority , but 
before long he was entangled in the snare of politics. 

2 Referring to a much later crisis in Samoan affairs, in which Missionaries were 
censured o™he like account, R. L. Stevenson wisely observes : The Missions may 
have been td blame. Missionaries are perhaps apt to meddle ^ T ^^^ s ^. 
discipline It is a fault which should be udged with mercy. The Pro blem .*J°™f. 
times so insidiously presented that even a moderate and able man is betrayed beyond 
hiTown intention and the Missionary in such a land as Samoa is something besides 



most of the teachers from Tonga appear to have returned dis- 
heartened. In the year 1855, when the South Sea Missions came 
under the control of the newly created Australasian Conference, 
no more than a remnant of two or three thousand nominal 
adherents was left out of Peter Turner's host of followers. 
These immovable retainers of Methodism who refused the 
offices of the London Mission, according to Dyson's testimony, 
* were debased and ignorant to a proverb.' 

Such was the inglorious end, so far as concerned the parent 
Missionary Society, of the Mission to the Navigators' Islands 
so auspiciously commenced. A new chapter opened for the 
melancholy story in 1857, ^° which we must glance, although 
it lies beyond the strict limits of the present work. On his 
way back from England to Tonga in the year 1855 John Thomas 
spent some time in Sydney. There on June 8 he addressed a 
breakfast meeting held under the auspices of the lately con- 
stituted Australian Methodist Missionary Society. In speaking 
at this gathering on the subject of Polynesian Missions, Mr. 
Thomas told the twenty years' tale of Methodist doings in 
Samoa ; he described the pitiful condition to which the residue 
of our thousands of converts there, still clinging to the 
Methodist name and tradition, had been reduced. The nar- 
ration so moved the compassion of his hearers, some of whom 
were able to give corroborative evidence, that they passed a 
resolution on the spot which pledged them to take the matter 
up. The Missionary Committee of the new Conference was 
called upon to investigate the circumstances, and it commis- 
sioned Mr. Thomas, accompanied by Latuselu, who had been 
restored to the Tongan Native ministry, to visit the 
islands on its behalf and hold an inquiry with a view to 
advise the Conference on the question of reviving the 
lapsed Mission. 

Guided by the report of their commissioner, the Missionary 
Committee and the Conference of 1856 determined at once to 
recognize the disowned Methodists of Samoa and to send them 
a European Minister. The decisive resolution purported that 

the arrangements made (for Samoa) in the year 1837 have not answered 
the end designed . . . that serious evils have occurred, and are hkely to 
be perpetuated and aggravated if Wesleyan Missionaries are not im- 
mediately sent to meet the wants and wishes of the Wesleyan Societies 
residing in these islands. 


The decision was reported, and reasons for it given, in letters 
to the Committees of the mother Society in England and of 
the London Missionary Society. The latter entered its protest, 
standing on the terms of the 1836 covenant, which it held to 
be binding upon the Australian authorities who had taken over 
the obligations of the British Conference in the South Seas. 
The representatives of the London Missionary Society dwelt 
also on the waste involved in different Missionary Societies 
spending their energies within the same limited field, while vast 
stretches of heathendom remained untouched. They stated 
also that the main part of the old Methodist interest had been 
peaceably united with their Mission, and ' a party only remained 
outside, kept back by political motives and family connexions,' 
which would inevitably be absorbed before long. The Methodist 
rejoinder was to the effect that the Australian Conference was 
no party to the agreement quoted ; it must act upon its own 
judgement in respect to Samoa, and was perfectly free to do so ; 
that the Samoan Methodists — the persons primarily concerned 
in the transaction — had repudiated the transfer from the 
beginning ; that there still remained after seventeen years, and 
when the Wesleyan Missionaries had done their best to reconcile 
their converts to the change, a large section of irreconcilables 
left without teaching or oversight, a scandal to the Christian 
and the Methodist name which they bore ; that whatever 
might be the motives of these people, the fact of their persistent 
attachment to the Church that first ministered to them 
remained, and could no longer be disregarded ; and that for 
these reasons the Australian Methodist Missionary Society was 
constrained to accede to the request of the long-derelict com- 
munity, and was doing so altogether in the interests cf religion 
and in the spirit of friendship toward the London Society. It 
might have been added that the Australians, in virtue of their 
situation, were nearly touched by the Samoan appeal, and 
were in a position to acquaint themselves thoroughly with the 
state of affairs in the South Sea Islands. 

The case was one of great delicacy as well as difficulty. 
Martin Dyson, the able young Missionary and sound organizer 
whom the Australian Conference sent to take up this charge, 
on his arrival judged the resumption of the work in Samoa to 
have been ill advised. He would have abandoned the task of 
restoration a year after its commencement, but his Chairman, 


Thomas, who visited him from Tonga in 1858, would not hear 
of retreat, and induced him to persevere. Dyson held, as he 
stated in the clear and dispassionate narrative we have so often 
quoted, that the surrender of the field in 1839 was a grievous 
mistake and a wrong to the people who had trusted the 
Methodist Church and looked to it as their spiritual guide ; 
but that in 1857 the mistake was past mending, and what then 
remained salvable of the original Methodist Societies should 
have been left to merge itself in the constituency of the London 
Society, which was twelve times as large, and incomparably 
superior in character, organization, and appliances. 1 Dr. 
George Brown, who began his ministry as Dyson's assistant in 
i860, and who aided most effectively in the resuscitation, gives 
his judgement in the following terms : 

Of the justice of that action (the reinstitution of Samoan Methodism) 
I have never had any doubts, though I have always felt that the 
question as to whether it was expedient to resume the Mission after the 
lapse of so many years might at one time have been fairly questioned. 

The London Mission, at any rate, Brown shows to have been a 
gainer by the Methodist reoccupation. * The fickleness and 
disputatiousness of the Samoans, he considers, made divisions 
among them unavoidable. 

The different sects which have taken root here abundantly prove that 
it was not possible for any one branch of the Church of Christ to unite 
the whole people ; and the greatest hindrance to the spread of Roman 
Catholicism, Mormonism, Seventh Day Adventism, &c, is the fact that 
two of the recognized evangelical Churches are in the group.* 

In short, Brown judges that the presence of alternative 
Churches supplies a safety-valve for Samoan quarrels, and 
enables the Natives with less danger to cry, ' I am of Paul and 
I of Apollos ! ' Dyson, however, appears to think that at one 
time Methodism might have religiously united this strife-loving 

In the end the London Missionaries accepted the situation 

1 See My Story, pp. 37-49. 

1 ' Whereas in 1856, before the resumption, the L.M.S. had 2,000 Church members 
and Missionaries, in 1862, with fewer Missionaries, its membership had risen to 4,200 ' 
(see Danks, A Century in the Pacific, p. 492). 

' Dr. Brown, nevertheless, is eloquent on the amiable qualities of this people. 
The references just made are from pp. 29-30 of the Autobiography. 


with a good grace, and the Ministers of the two Societies have 
for a generation past fraternized and co-operated usefully. 
Dyson set the example by showing deference and consideration 
for the men of the other Mission, and by adjusting his plans to 
theirs wherever possible. He commended and used their 
excellent Bible version, and adopted their Samoan Christian 
terms, in place of the inferior vocabulary and the tentative 
renderings inherited from Peter Turner, to which the Native 
Methodists up to this time had clung as to their shibboleth. 
It was one of Dyson's hardest tasks to break down this conser- 
vatism. Cutting themselves off from the progress made by 
their fellow Christians since the withdrawal of their own 
Missionaries, the Methodists had relapsed far toward barbarism. 
Dyson set his face resolutely against proselytism from the 
sister Church, which his Tongan assistants, eager to recover the 
old Methodists who had ' gone over ' in that direction, would 
have prosecuted with might and main. 1 

In 1863 Samoa was constituted a separate District by 
detachment from the Friendly Islands, with Martin Dyson for 
its Chairman. There were now two Circuits, containing more 
than 1,000 Church members, with 473 ' on trial ' ; about 60 
Local Preachers ; 40 Sunday schools and 60 Day schools ; the 
entire Methodist constituency was over 5,000, being double 
the number of nominal Methodists estimated on Dyson's 
arrival six years earlier. The Church as it now existed, if still 
backward in intelligence and spirituality, was well organized 
and under watchful discipline. In 1864 a forward stride was 
taken by the opening of the Native training school for teachers 
and Preachers. From Satupaitea, where George Brown built 
this school, it was removed in 1875 to Lufilufi, in Upolu ; there 
it still stands. This establishment signalized the rooting of 
Methodism once more in the Samoan Islands. 

1 Notwithstanding the scrupulous care of Dyson and his colleagues, they were 
attacked on this score in a Protest of the Samoan Missionaries of the London Society, 
which was printed in the British Standard newspaper and widely circulated. The 
restored Wesleyan Mission was stigmatized as ' a system of proselytizing aggressions 
on the stations in charge of our (L.M.S.) Missionaries.' The accusers spoke of the 
' reintrusion ' of the Wesleyans ; they were obsessed with the mistaken idea that the 
latter had officiously thrust themselves in on ground in the previous possession of the 
London Society. Dyson and others effectually rebutted these heated and groundless 
imputations, which after a while were dropped. The fact was that a certain number 
of former Methodists did return to their own Church, which they had always preferred, 
on its re-establishment ; and the Wesleyan Missionaries, though they never invited, 
but discouraged, such applicants, could not refuse to admit them nor question their 
right of choice ; some of the London Missionaries, quite needlessly, feared that a 
wholesale defection would ensue. 


But in 1863 the Mission suffered a check. A third Mis- 
sionary had been appointed to the District and put in charge 
of a new Circuit, but in a few months family troubles enforced 
his quitting the field. The departure awakened distrust 
amongst the people, and (writes Dyson) ' a chilling cold be- 
numbed our Native teachers.' 1 War broke out soon after; a 
hurricane, followed by famine, scourged the islands. The 
Protest, issued on behalf of the London Society, added to the 
harassing circumstances of this juncture. 

The year was one of severe trial to us, but we lost nothing of our con- 
fidence in the righteousness, justice, and benevolence of our cause, 
though we learnt that . . . we were committed to a self-imposed work 
which would not add much to the glory of Methodism. We continued to 
be cheered with the conversion of sinners here and there in the group. 
Our members increased from our own hearers and not, as some would 
say, from the stray wounded sheep of the London Society. 1 

In 1865 Martin Dyson finished his work in the Mission, and 
George Brown succeeded to the Chair, which he filled with 
ability and vigour until his departure for new missionary 
fields in 1874. 

The beginners of the new era have been followed by a suc- 
cession of worthy and efficient Australian Missionaries to 
Samoa, who have carried on the Methodist testimony and 
labours to the present day. In size our Church has not greatly 
grown during the last half-century, and the improvement in 
quality and character of the two Protestant Churches, and of 
the Samoan Natives generally, during that period has been 
slow and hindered. Pagan vices and evil customs are not to 
be eradicated in one generation, nor in two. Tribal jealousies, 
the inveterate bane of Samoa, have kept the islands in a 
continual ferment, repeatedly breaking forth into war. Foreign 
interference has repressed these feuds, but the rivalries of the 
Western Powers for a long time went to aggravate the unrest. 
The influence of evil-minded Europeans, damaging to Poly- 
nesian fife both in soul and body, has nowhere been more active 
and noxious than in Samoa. 

According to the latest returns, the Methodist Church in the 
islands numbers 2,624 Church members (including those on 

1 See My Story, pp. 74-77. * Ibid., p. 96. 


trial), and about 7,000 attenders at public worship, 1 between a 
fifth and sixth of the population. There are four White 
Missionaries and three Native Ministers, assisted by 250 Local 
Preachers and over 500 Class-leaders ; 50 churches, with 36 
' other preaching-places,' in two Circuits. The Australian 
Missionary report for 1914 describes the Samoan District as 
passing out of the dependent Mission stage into that of 
developed, self-supporting Church life. A ' new constitution,' 
giving a large measure of self-government to this province, was 
then on the point of settlement. 

1 The Congregationalists (of the L.M.S.) are perhaps four times as many ; the 
Roman Catholic constituency is smaller than the Methodist. The Seventh Day 
Adventists are comparatively numerous. Mormonism has also a footing in Samoa. 


The Fiji Islands — Their Inhabitants — Religious Ideas and Customs 
— The Coming of the Gospel — Cross and Cargill — Lakemba — First- 
fruits — Persecutions — Recruits from England. 

The islands of Fiji (or Viti 1 ), to which eighty years ago the 
dreadful title at the head of this chapter belonged, are amongst 
the larger clusters of the Pacific Archipelago. Their size, 
fertility, and situation combine to give them a peculiar im- 
portance, and they form to-day a valuable possession of the 
British Crown, an outlier of Australia and New Zealand and a 
link between their commerce and the American continent. 
The total land-surface of Fiji is 7,435 square miles, about the 
extent of the country of Wales. Six-sevenths of this area 
belong to the two islands of Viti Levu (Great Fiji) and Vanua 
Levu (Great Land), the former of which, compact in shape, 
covers nearly 4,000 square miles, being by itself ten times as 
big as the whole of the Friendly Islands together. Only a 
third of the 250 islands and islets counted in the group are 
inhabited. Disposed in a circular form between latitudes 
15 and 20 south, and about the meridian of 180 , the Fijis 
are situated 1,200 miles north of Auckland and 1,900 miles 
north-east of Sydney, with Tonga bearing east by south-east 
and Samoa almost due north-east, while the New Hebrides, 
the nearest Melanesian group, are somewhat farther away to 
the west. The soil of the islands, formed of the detritus of 
volcanic rocks which in comparatively recent geological times 
have broken through and mingled with the coralline limestone 
everywhere in rapid deposition in the warm shallows of the 
Pacific Ocean, is uncommonly productive. The larger islands 
of the group, rising into mountain-ranges and plateaus pierced 
by river-valleys of considerable size, present great varieties of 

1 Fiji is the Tongan corruption, prevalent also in the windward (south-eastern) 
Fijis, of the native Viti. 



aspect and scenes of enchanting beauty. They lend them- 
selves to the cultivation of every kind of tropical produce, while 
on the higher levels plants of more temperate latitudes flourish. 
Forests of magnificent timber luxuriate on the windward, 
moisture-laden side of the islands ; the leeward districts, 
looking north-west, are covered with grass and shrubs, and 
their uplands supply abundant pasturage. Except in birds 
and in insect-plagues, the indigenous fauna of Fiji is poor ; 
pigs, dogs, and fowls (all Tongan importations, it is said), are 
the only Native domestic animals ; European settlers have 
brought with them cattle and horses. On the whole the 
Fijian climate is salubrious for the tropics. Fevers are rare ; 
dysentery is the most dangerous malady. The sea-breezes, and 
the mountain-heights, reaching over 4,000 feet in the greater 
islands, agreeably temper the summer heats. The rainfall is 
abundant. Hurricanes are less frequent and destructive than 
in Tonga. 

Visited by Tasman and Cook in the seventeenth and eighteenth 
centuries, the Fiji Islands had much to attract European 
adventurers. But there were strong deterrents in the way of 
early commerce and settlement. One of these lay in the danger 
besetting navigation, through the great number and irregular 
distribution of the islands, with their fringing and outlying 
reefs and the paucity of good harbours. Still more repellent 
was the character of the inhabitants, who bore the reputation 
of being the most ferocious man-eaters on the face of the earth. 
While the Maoris celebrated their victories in war by feasts on 
human flesh, and in other South Sea Islands religious ceremonies 
were occasionally attended by orgies of this nature, amongst 
the Fijians the hideous diet was enjoyed on its own account, 
and the cannibal appetite had become inveterate. In many 
places the man-ovens were in continual use ; public guests 
were by custom honoured with a banquet furnished in this 
way. Men were systematically marked down, and hunted or 
waylaid, to provide meat for the chief's table and for festival 
occasions. The motive of gluttony was added to those of 
revenge and cruelty in the cultivation of this most atrocious of 
heathen vices. So familiar was the practice that it was no 
uncommon thing for an incensed chief to say to the subject 
of his anger, ' I'll eat you ! ' and this was no idle threat. When 
a Fijian saw a stranger in good physical condition, he was apt 


to remark, ' What fine eating that man would make ! ' Great 
chiefs would keep a reckoning of their victims by way of pride ; 
one monster, known to the first Missionaries, had the consump- 
tion of 900 human bodies counted, on good evidence, to his 
sole credit. Now and then, John Hunt testifies, Fijian warriors 
would even devour the body of a friend slain in battle, after 
giving him a mock funeral. The indulgence was not, however, 
universal, being ordinarily limited to the chiefs and their 
retainers. Women were commonly excluded from the cannibal 
feasts, though their sex not seldom supplied the victims ; the 
priests in some localities were also forbidden human flesh. 
Amongst the nobility there were strict abstainers ; whole 
families, and even islands, were free from the abomination. * 
The public conscience, secretly against it, was speedily 
awakened by the horror it excited in visitors from other lands. 
In the popular mind the custom was associated with the 
qualities of warlike vigour, of ruthless energy and thoroughness 
characterizing the ruling classes ; its frightfulness recommended 
it on campaigns of conquest, and the most powerful and 
ambitious kings were the last to relinquish what they deemed 
to be a badge of authority and a useful aid to government. 
Foreign sailors had the more reason to dread this fate because 
in heathen Fiji, as elsewhere in the Pacific, the misfortune of 
shipwreck was held to be a proof of divine displeasure, and its 
victims, whether strangers or fellow countrymen, were regarded 
as culprits unworthy of pity ; their property and their persons 
were seized as a windfall from the gods by those on whose 
shores the luckless ship was cast. 

As it happened in New Zealand and Tonga, so here, unfor- 
tunately, the Natives came first into contact with White men 
through the lowest of their kind — through fugitive sailors and 
escaped convicts. A number of depraved criminals of the 
latter class found their way to Fiji in 1804 from New South 
Wales, who not only saved their own fives, but inspired terror 
in the people through the fire-arms they carried with them. 
Some of these desperadoes, who fell in but too readily with the. 
vices of the heathen, commending themselves by their daring 
and craft in exploits of war, survived for many years. ! The 

1 In Lakemba, for example, where the Missionaries began their labours, 
cannibalism was not practised. Here Tongan influence had for long prevailed. 

* These renegades from civilization drew the line, however, at man-eating 


ascendancy of the kings of Mbau 1 was due in great part to their 
enlisting a Swedish castaway named Charles Savage, a man 
of decided ability, who trained the warriors of this little state 
in the use of the musket. An Irish ex-convict named Connor, 
who died in 1840, rendered similar aid to the king of Rewa, 
Mbau's dangerous rival. The degraded lives of the earliest 
European incomers, and of too many amongst the traders who 
followed them, aggravated the wickedness of the Fijian people, 
and threw many hindrances in the way of Christianity and 
moral progress. Here, as elsewhere, unscrupulous dealers, who 
found the Missionary the chief obstacle to their schemes for 
exploiting the vice and the ignorance of the savages, became 
his opposers and traducers. 

The savagery of the Fijians was marked by other inhuman 
practices, shared more or less with barbarous races of the South 
Seas and of the African and American continents generally, 
which they carried to the greatest lengths of violence. 
Amongst these was the practice of strangling widows on their 
husbands' death, a usage with which Missionaries had to 
contend for many years. As polygamy was universal in 
families of rank, this rule entailed multiplied murders and 
scenes of tragic horror at the death of leading chieftains. That 
the wife should attend her lord to the afterworld was viewed 
as a sacred obligation, which it was her pride to fulfil. Often, 
when others strove to save them, the doomed women insisted 
upon their right to share the husband's grave, showing the 
utmost contempt for death, and dressing for the occasion as 
for a festival ! They could live only to be objects of contempt 
in society. It was the office of their own sons, or nearest male 
relatives, to fix round the neck and draw tight the strangling 
cord. The ceremony was public, taking place by the side of 
the corpse soon after the event of decease. Beside their wives, 
intimate friends and attendants were sometimes expected to 
accompany the departing spirit to Bulotu, the Fijian Hades. 
This dreadful custom evidenced the vivid faith of the people 
in the world beyond the grave. Worship of their ancestors, and 
recognition of their ghostly power over the fortune of their 
descendants, formed a principal part of Fijian religion. Infan- 
ticide was freely practised in Fiji, but was hardly so prevalent, 

1 Bau is the commoner spelling of this name, but the flat mutes b, d, g are regularly 
nasalized in Fijian, and pronounced tnb, nd, ngg. 


nor so shamelessly and openly perpetrated, as the Missionaries 
found it amongst the Maoris. The Fijians were also accustomed 
to hasten the death of hopelessly sick and aged people — an act 
defended by them as done in kindness ; indeed, the ' happy 
dispatch ' was often desired by incurables. ' Parricide,' says 
Williams, ' ranked in Fiji as a social institution.' The practice 
of burying human victims, by way of religious inauguration, 
in the foundations of new houses and temples— a widespread 
usage of paganism — was common in Fiji ; at the launching of 
newly built canoes men's bodies were used for rollers, and thus 
crushed to death. The people lived in perpetual wars occa- 
sioned by the jealousies and ambitions of the chiefs, few of whom 
exercised any extensive power ; even in time of peace they 
carried arms, which was not the case in Tonga. As combatants 
they were distinguished by cunning and treachery rather than 
by courage, preferring the skirmish and ambush to open 
encounter. In discipline and bravery the Fijians were no 
match for Tongan warriors. Wholesale butchery regularly 
ensued on the capture of an enemy town ; women and children 
perished along with men, and the captors revelled in outrage 
and cruelty. 

Despite their ferocity, the Fijians in character and manners 
ranked by no means lowest amongst uncivilized people. Their 
family affections were in many cases strong and even tender ; 
they had a certain sense of honour, and were capable of fidelity 
and warm friendship. In cleanliness and care of their houses, 
in field-cultivation and in domestic arts — particularly in the 
preparation of food — the Fijians excelled most Pacific islanders. 
They had not the peculiar consideration for women distinguish- 
ing the Tongans ; the men imposed on them heavy physical 
toil, and left to them the remnants of their own meals. On the 
other hand the Fijians showed more regard for chastity, and 
had more feeling for decency in their daily habits. Tact and 
politeness were not wanting to them in social intercourse ; 
elaborate etiquette was practised at their little courts, and in 
public festivals and ceremonies. Strangers were astonished at 
the ' gentlemanly ' style in which habitual cannibals could 
comport themselves. 

The extremes of their character [writes John Hunt] are very striking ; 
one moment a Fijian can be as polite as a Frenchman, and the next 
as ferocious as a mad dog. 


If not so able intellectually as many of the Samoans and 
Tongans, the Fijians rise to a good average in mental ability ; 
their language is that of a people of imagination and humour, 
and of some subtlety of mind, and lends itself to the uses of 
poetry and oratory. It was found to supply a good medium for 
Bible translation. 1 Without the ingratiating disposition of 
their eastern and southern neighbours, the Fijians are more 
industrious and persevering, more ingenious in the mechanical 
arts, and of a sturdier fibre. The division of labour and 
exchange of commodities were practised amongst them ; the 
several islands and districts, in many instances, cultivated a 
special skill in particular occupations. In certain quarters, 
for example, the women carried the manufacture of pottery, 
of which the Polynesians eastwards have no knowledge, to a 
perfection unknown elsewhere without the use of the potter's 
wheel. Manual labour and dexterity were held in honour ; 
the chiefs did not disdain the drudgery of the garden and 
workshop, priding themselves on superiority in the labours of 
peace as well as in those of war. Miss Gordon Cumming 
describes their mekes, or action-songs and dances, in enthusiastic 
terms. 2 In this form of art the Fijians exhibited an extra- 
ordinary mimetic power and a great faculty for rhythmical 
movement and expression. After all, the Fijian character had 
its redeeming features and traits of excellence ; Missionaries 
who surmounted the loathing excited by their cannibal pro- 
pensities became genuinely attached to the islanders, and 
formed a high opinion of their capabilities. 

In race and tongue the natives of Fiji are distinct from those 
of the Polynesian groups to windward. Both their physical 
features and their language and traditions bespeak for them a 
mixed descent. Fundamentally their constitution is Melane- 
sian. While well proportioned and athletic in build, the chiefs 
being sometimes giants in size and strength, their average 
stature is shorter, and their complexion (a dusky brown) much 
darker, than that of the Tongans. They have a comparatively 

1 ' If the Fijian must give place to the Tonguese in softness, and perhaps in 
melody,' says Cargill, ' yet the Tonguese is far surpassed by the Fijian in expression 
and energy.' Elsewhere he remarks on ' the copiousness and vigour ' of Fijian speech. 
He finds a considerable amount of common vocabulary and idiom in the two languages, 
although radically distinct. 

2 At Home in Fiji, pp. 88-95. This charming narrative makes many commenda- 
tory references to the work of the Wesleyan Missionaries, as the writer saw it at the 
time of the British annexation in 1874, and to the religious life and manners of the 
Christianized Fijians, who by this time formed the ereater part of the population. 


rough skin and thick lips, and their countenance is less refined 
and pleasing. Their jet-black, or sometimes tawny, hair is 
crisp and curled and uncommonly profuse ; dressed out .by 
the men in marvellous fashion, it forms the conspicuous feature 
of their persons. ■ At the same time the Fijians do not represent 
the pure negroid type of New Guinea and western Oceania ; 
there is undoubtedly a Polynesian strain in their composition, 
especially evident on the windward side of the group, and 
amongst the coast tribes generally. * This difference is ascribed 
to the constant influx of Tongan visitors and colonists, who 
were brought hither by the prevailing winds, the necessities 
of trade, and the roving spirit of the Friendly Islanders. 

The religious ideas and customs of the people of Fiji exhibit 
a similar blend of the Polynesian and Melanesian. The same 
religious atmosphere and system prevailed throughout the 
group ; identical deities were worshipped under different 
names in different islands or townships. The custom of tabu 
was prevalent, as throughout the South Sea Islands ; it played 
a dominant part in the religious and social system of Fiji. 
Witchcraft was held in mortal fear. The worship of dead 
ancestors was universally practised, but these were always 
distinguished from the gods. To the latter was ascribed, in 
the main, a malignant character, made up of human vices 
supernaturally magnified and associated with the more 
destructive agencies of nature ; the gods were in most instances 
' monster expressions of moral corruption.' The Fijian creed, 
like that of the ancient Romans as compared with the Greeks, 
wore a matter-of-fact, materialistic cast. The people fashioned 
no idols to represent their gods ; the Fijian temples, or bures 
(Polynesian maraes), used as places of assembly and ceremony, 
were empty of images. Stones of peculiar shape, particular 
animals (snakes, lizards, sharks), were identified with certain 
deities. Above all, the priests were imagined, in the states 
of convulsion and frenzy which they cultivated, to become 
organs of the supernatural, and their utterances passed as 
oracles. Ndengei for the Fijians took the place of the Tongan 
Tangaroa as the head of the pantheon, the serpent — symbol of 
eternity, as in so many lands — being his special shrine. But 

1 Every chief of importance has his own barber, who strives to outdo his fellow 

* The contrast between the shore-folk and the hill-folk of Fiji reminds one of 
that apparent in the Highlands of Scotland. 



Ndengei was a kind of abstract infinite, relegated to a remote 
and gloomy cavern, where occasionally he caused earthquakes 
by shifting, as he lay prone, from side to side. Hunger was the 
great Being's only sensation. Consequently Ndengei enjoyed 
little worship ; this was commonly paid to the inferior gods. 
The heavenly bodies played little part in the mythology of the 
Fijians ; nor did their religion approximate to the higher forms 
of nature-worship or contain elements of sublimity and 
philosophical reflection beyond the inert traditional idea of 
Ndengei. There was little in the Fijian nature of the playful 
fancy which in many Polynesian cults relieved the gloom of 
religion by fairy tales and elaborate myths of Divine adventures 
and escapades. * It was to the utmost degree ' earthy, sensual, 
demoniacal.' The general designation kalou included all 
divinities, * and served as a superlative for anything marvellous 
and suggesting the Divine. Kalou might be predicated of the 
spirits of deceased chiefs and heroes, or even of the ghost of 
a personal friend, though these were not strictly deified ; the 
boundary line between gods and men was indistinct to Fijian 

Like earlier importations, the Gospel came to Fiji from the 
Friendly Islands. * So soon as the Mission had become estab- 
lished in Tonga it naturally sent out its roots toward Samoa 
and Fiji. How it befell with the advance in the former 
direction we have related in the previous chapter. The 
Friendly Islands Missionaries, in the strength of the great 
spiritual awakening just experienced in their own District, 
were prepared for the undertaking of both enterprises, pro- 
vided adequate support were forthcoming from home. They 

1 See W. W. Gill's Myths and Songs from the South Pacific. 

1 B. H. Thomson distinguishes the Kalou-Vu (great gods) from the Kalou-Valu 
(spirit gods), regarding the former as the deities of the Polynesian conquerors, the 
latter as transmitted from the older Melanesian ancestor-worship. Ndengei, how- 
ever, as he points out, is a Melanesian name, and bears traces of ancestral derivation. 
On the coining of Christianity Ndengei was frequently identified with Jehovah. A 
sort of Messianic expectation was attached to the names of Ndengei's two grand- 
nephews, who were believed to have escaped to the West from the flood he had sent 
upon them, and would some day return bringing the Golden Age. In 1885 a strange 
heresy broke out, parallel in several respects to the Hau-hauism of New Zealand, 
combining the announcement of the advent of Ndengei's grand-nephews and a revived 
ancestor-worship, with Christian ideas, which assumed a nationalistic character 
dangerous to British ascendancy, and was suppressed by the Government, after 
disturbing the island for seven years. A third class of deities, who had no temples, 
priests, or worship, were the gods of the underworld. 

• John Williams in 1830 landed two Tahitian Christian teachers on the Fiji 
Islands, whom the Methodist Missionaries found there on arrival. But these fore- 
runners had been unsuccessful. They joined the new-comers, and were serviceable 
to them. 


were already committed, and supposed the Missionary Society 
itself committed, to the occupying of Samoa, whither Peter 
Turner was dispatched early in 1835. But Fiji had taken the 
prior place in the thoughts of the Committee in London. 
Already for three years the ' Fiji Islands ' had stood upon its 
list of Foreign Stations. In 1832, and again in 1833, Charles 
Tucker and David Cargill had been designated for the new 
station, these names being replaced in 1834 by ' Stephen 
Rabone, and another to be sent.' The above appointments, 
however, failed to take effect in consequence of the vacancies 
arising in Tonga and the rapid development of the work there, 
which caused repeated postponement of the projected 
arrangements for Fiji. At the memorable Tongan Synod of 
December, 1834, in view of the reinforcements shortly expected 
from England, it was resolved to proceed at once with the 
establishment of the Mission to Fiji, simultaneously with that 
to Samoa ; and William Cross, whose health had now been 
restored after his heavy affliction, volunteered to be Cargill's 
companion on this hazardous enterprise. * Cross was a man of 
well-tried devotion, with eight years' experience of labour in 
the South Seas ; Cargill, whose destination from the outset 
was Fiji, had been now helping for two years in the Tongan 
service, and high expectations were drawn from his talent and 
zeal. These two men remained in Tonga till October, 1835, 
when the missionary recruits were due to arrive from Sydney. 
They employed the interval in studying the new language by 
the aid of Fijians resident in Vavau. Cargill even succeeded 
in preparing for future use a printed Fijian 'First Book ' and a 
Methodist Catechism in the same tongue. Cross and Cargill 
landed at Lakemba, with their little families, on October 12. 
Their coming was eagerly awaited by the Tongan Christians of 
that town, and Tui Nuyau, the king, who had sent them an 
invitation, received his guests with many signs of friendship. 

Lakemba was a stepping-stone from Tonga to Fiji. This 
town, capital of the island of that name — the largest amongst 
the windward group of the Fijis, and possessing a fairly good 
harbour — was, indeed, almost half Tongan. The port was the 
centre of a trade of considerable dimensions between the 

1 In the Minutes for 1835 the names attached to Fiji are those of Peter Turner, 
Charles Tucker, and Samuel Hooley, the two former having probably been suggested 
from the Friendly Islands in the year before. Hooley was newly appointed from 
England ; for some unknown reason he remained in the home work. 


Friendly Islands and Fiji ; canoes, sometimes in whole fleets, 
were constantly coming and going. Such intercourse had 
existed from time immemorial. The Tongans imported 
Fijian produce — especially timber for boat-building, which 
is scarce in their islands J — and manufactured articles in many 
respects surpassing their own. On the other hand, their 
superior seamanship and aptitude for trade made them useful 
to the Fijians, and put them in the way of gaining wealth and 
influence. Young Tongan chiefs, eager for fighting and finding 
little scope in their narrow and comparatively peaceful islands, 
apprenticed themselves in battle in the Fijian campaigns, and 
gained a name for prowess. The military skill the Tongans 
acquired under King George Tubou, and the services they 
rendered in war to leading Fijian chiefs at a later time, with 
their increasing numbers, made their presence subsequently a 
political danger in Fiji, and led to suspicions of their design to 
rule these islands. Though jealousies and quarrels naturally 
arose, the Tongans and Fijians maintained in general remark- 
ably friendly terms. They differed much in temperament and 
habits, but each party was useful to the other, and had a 
certain respect for the powers of its neighbour and an under- 
standing of its neighbour's ways. The Tongan teacher, im- 
ported by the Missionaries, was usually persona grata with the 
Natives. The conspicuous success the Wesleyan Mission had 
gained in Tonga gave it at once a favourable official footing in 
Lakemba ; indeed, the Church of God in the Friendly Islands 
stood as ' a city set upon a hill ' amongst the isles of the 
Western Pacific. From King George's dominion ' the Word 
of the Lord ' was now ' sounding out ' far and wide, and the 
Tongan Missionaries took advantage at the right moment of the 
prestige attaching to their cause. At the same time it would 
be a mistake, except in the case of individuals here and there, 
to impute Fijian hospitality to any inclination toward 
Christianity for its own sake. King Tui Nuyau, for instance, 
remained an obstinate heathen for many years after the Mis- 
sionaries' coming to Lakemba, and threw continual hindrances 
in the way of their work. The considerations disposing Fijian 
chiefs in favour of the admission of the servants of Christ 

i Tongan carpenters were sent across to Fiji to build canoes there for Tongan 
chiefs. The Tongans appear to have greatly improved in the art of boat-budding 
through Fijian instruction ; but the Fijians never approached their neighbours in 
skill of navigation. 


arose from the material advantages secured by their residence ; 
Fijian visitors to Tonga had made report of these. With the 
White man's lotu came the White man's ships, bringing iron 
tools and other strange and precious things procurable by 
barter ; a regular store of the coveted goods would be put 
within reach of the king under whose shadow the Missionary 
lived. The European traders might be expected to frequent the 
islands with their wares — including the supremely desirable 
fire-arms and gunpowder — when their countrymen were safely 
settled there. The more intelligent Natives understood why 
their shores were so dreaded, and recognized the injury their 
shocking character was doing them. They wished to be on 
better terms with the White foreigners, of whose weapons and 
wealth they would fain share the possession. x The lesson of the 
rise of Mbau and Rewa was not lost upon the rest of Fiji. 
Something of the welcome extended to Cross and Cargill was 
also due, doubtless, to the fame which missionary medicine had 
acquired in Tonga. A few Tongan Christians were found in 
Fiji whose character adorned the Gospel ; but it would be 
ascribing too much to this handful of men to suppose that 
their influence, exerted for so short a time, had much to do 
with the widespread interest manifested at the landing of the 
first pair of Missionaries, and with the comparatively friendly 
and respectful way in which they were treated by this most 
barbarous of peoples. Hence the Gospel did not suffer in Fiji 
the rebuffs to which it was at first exposed in the Friendly 
Islands ; from the outset the Mission went steadily onwards, 
though far from rapidly in its early stages. 

With the pioneers Cross and Cargill we have already become 
acquainted upon the Tongan field, where they had proved 
their quality. They worked side by side at Lakemba until 
the end of 1837, when Cross removed to the more central and 
populous region of the group. He intended to settle on Mbau, 
the island fortress of the most powerful Fijian king, to whom the 
king of Lakemba was tributary ; but turned aside to Rewa, an 
important town of the mainland (Viti Levu), a political rival 
of Mbau and about twenty miles distant from it by sea. Here 

1 Cargill tells in his journal how, within two months of the arrival of the Mis- 
sionaries, the long of Lakemba offered ' to embrace Christianity, if our friends in 
England would send him so many muskets and so much powder as would make him 
more powerful than his enemies ! ' Failing this inducement, Tui Nuyau remained 
for ten years an incorrigible heathen. 


William Cross landed with his family on January 8, 1838. The 
Mission was gravitating toward the centre of Fiji. The Car- 
gills were left alone in Lakemba, * until the arrival of reinforce- 
ments from England at the end of the year 1838 made the ex- 
tension of the work and the rearrangement of the diminutive 
force possible. Lakemba, which belonged almost as much to 
Tonga as Fiji, afforded little more than a point of approach 
to the heart of the latter country. So long as the Missionaries 
remained tied to this place they appeared to be under the 
patronage of the Tongan foreigners. They soon discovered, 
moreover, that the Lakemban dialect was an outlying and 
defective form of the Fijian language, and that they must 
advance beyond the windward group to accomplish much in 
the evangelization of the islands. 

Though large amongst the windward cluster, Lakemba is 
but eight miles in length and about thirty in circumference, 
and had importance only in virtue of its convenient harbour 
and maritime situation. Its population v/as reckoned at four 
thousand. It formed a compact little Circuit, which the Mis- 
sionaries speedily traversed, getting a foothold before long in a 
number of the villages, where they made friends and secured 
some sort of preaching-places. It was soon apparent that the 
influence of the king and leading chiefs of the island, however 
civil they might be in manner and wishful to profit by trade 
with the foreigners, was firmly opposed to the lotu ; they 
discouraged their people from conversion. Tui Nuyau proved 
himself in religion very much of a time-server. For many 
years the Mission had to encounter a sustained, though more 
or less veiled, persecution, both in Lakemba itself and in the 
nearer subject islands, to which the Missionaries soon found 
their way. In the year 1836 a Society membership of 576 was 
reported from Fiji ; this must have been a sanguine estimate, 
formed by the Missionaries on their arrival, of Tongan Methodist 
strength in the islands. Anyhow, at the next membership- 
return, two years later, the number is reduced to 131 ; in 
1839 the- total is but 353, the bulk of these being still Tongans. 
The Tongan population was constantly shifting. Cargill 
records at one point how his Society was reduced at one stroke 
by half through the return home of a company of carpenters on 

1 John Spinney figures in the Stations of 1836 as a third Fijian Missionary, but 
this worthy young man never reached his post ; he died in Australia, obtaining only 
a glimpse of Fiji on his voyage thither from the Friendly Islands. 


their finishing a contract of canoe-building which had occupied 
them in Fiji for a long while. The Lakemban Church was 
subject habitually to such fluctuations. 

On March 20, 1836, Cargill writes in his journal : ' This 
forenoon my colleague and I baptized thirty-two adults, the 
first-fruits of the Gospel in Fiji.' They had passed through a 
careful catechumenate. 

Some of these [he adds] embraced Christianity five or six years ago 
in the Tonga Islands ; the rest have abandoned idolatry since their 
arrival in Fiji. All of them have been meeting in Class at least three 

By this time there was a Methodist chapel in Lakemba, ' built,' 
writes Cargill, ' out of the materials of our late dwelling- 
houses ' ; these had been wrecked in a heavy storm. However 
hostile the king was, in his own mind, to the new religion, he 
did not fail in hospitality to his invited guests ; he attended 
promptly to their needs in respect of habitation. Referring to 
this ' rude and temporary edifice,' which held a regular congre- 
gation of 200 people, the Missionary notes with satisfaction the 
reverence with which the heathen approached Christian wor- 
ship. Similar observations are frequent in Cargill's record. 
The strangeness of form marking the new ritual was, no doubt, 
impressive ; but the Fijian is peculiarly susceptible of religious 
awe, a characteristic to be counted to his credit. Early in 
January, 1836, Cargill gathered at the Lord's Table a company 
of eleven communicants, made up, as he relates, of Europeans, 
Tongans, and Fijians, so that more than one of the last-named 
nationality by this date had been received into the Church. 1 
The Missionaries, who found the people very conversable, 
conversed and preached constantly in the two languages (many 
Fijians in Lakemba understood Tonguese), gradually gaining 
facility in the speech of the islands. Until they had become 
accomplished in Fijian it was useless to push their work beyond 
Lakemba. Schools were opened for both sexes, conducted by 
the Missionaries and their wives, which were attended by old 
as well as young. In a few months they felt themselves com- 
petent to offer instruction in Fijian as well as Tongan. ' Some 
of the resident Tongans had learnt to read in their own islands, 

1 Some Fijians had become Christian converts in Tonga ; those to whom he refers 
may have been of this class. 

* Cargill had prepared two lesson-books in Fijian before leaving Vavau. 


and their efficiency excited Fijian emulation ; the usefulness 
as well as the marvel of this acquirement appealed to the 
Native mind. Scholars were readily gathered, and were 
generally manageable and eager to learn. The authorities, who 
discountenanced conversion and the abandonment of heathen 
customs, made little objection to schools. 

Indications were not wanting, however, of the fierce conflict 
awaiting the heralds of the Gospel in this land of ghastly 
superstition and bloodshed. Within three months of Cross 
and Cargill's arrival two storms of unusual violence occurred, 
in the first of which the frail dwellings assigned to the Mis- 
sionaries were levelled, while buildings and crops throughout 
the islands were severely damaged. On both occasions the 
Native priests in the name of their gods ascribed the calamity 
to the presence of the foreign religion ; they called on the 
king and chiefs to have its emissaries banished and the pollution 
removed. Tui Nuyau was shrewd enough to ask why, on the 
theory of the priests, the hurricanes did not wreak their fury 
upon the adherents of the lotu, but visited the whole people 
impartially, and even on islands where the lotu was unknown. 
The opposers gained nothing by their attack ; these and 
similar incidents led to a wholesale criticism of the inspiration 
of the priests. 

More dangerous hostility arose from the declining of Chris- 
tians to work on the Sabbath and to pay the customary offering 
of first-fruits to the tutelary god of Lakemba. These refusals 
were viewed as acts of rebellion, and punished accordingly by 
some of the chiefs, others contenting themselves with threats 
against the recusants. The converts of the Mission were 
protected through the influence of a Tongan chief of great 
service to the king, who had some years previously accepted 
the Christian faith in his Native land, but in Fiji relapsed into 
heathenism. This backslider was now restored, and proved a 
tower of strength to the infant Church. Petty annoyances, 
however, were multiplied, and grew into a systematic persecu- 
tion, unrestrained by the king, which culminated before long 
in open attacks by bands of heathen upon two little towns 
whose principal inhabitants had accepted lotu ; they suffered 
every kind of wrong and outrage short of the forfeiture of their 
lives. This deed of terrorism frightened many of the half- 
decided and winnowed the Church. A goodly remnant stood 


fast. The patient and forgiving spirit manifested by the 
Christians, and their cheerful loyalty to the Government which 
had used them so ill, were moral phenomena absolutely new, 
and almost uncanny in Fijian eyes. No preaching or spoken 
testimony could have touched the popular mind so deeply as 
did this perfect abstinence from revenge. 

Some who had suffered the loss of all things, and banishment for 
Christ's sake, were at last permitted to return to their homes, where 
they found themselves greeted with a strange respect. 

Among the exiles was ' a man of noble and vigorous character, 
a Fijian named Moses Vakaloloma,' who was subsequently 
made a Local Preacher. Vakololoma's wife was a kindred 
spirit, and his family became the centre of a salutary and 
widely extended Christian influence. Despite all resistance, 
the lotu took root through the island of Lakemba. From 
amongst the more advanced and capable of the converts 
Scripture-readers, Exhorters, and Class-leaders were forth- 
coming. The nucleus of a Methodist Church was created. At 
the end of 1836 the Missionaries baptized 79 additional men and 
women, and 17 children ; 280 knelt in communion at the 
Supper of the Lord, out of whom 80 were recent arrivals from 
Tonga. Were it only to provide for the stream of emigrants 
from the Friendly Islands the Mission was bound to occupy 
Lakemba. This necessity had made the new-born Tongan 
Church eager to farther the advance upon Fiji and ready to 
furnish auxiliaries. 

Beside the persecutions assailing their growing flock, 
domestic trials and anxieties of no common aggravation fell 
upon the Missionaries. The pilfering of the Natives, though 
less shameless and habitual than that experienced in New 
Zealand and Tonga, was a serious evil and cause of loss, from 
which the king afforded uncertain protection. The Fijians 
made poor domestic servants, unhandy and careless ; life 
within and about the house was often harassing in the last 
degree to the first settlers. At the same time nothing was more 
interesting to the Native onlookers than the domestic doings 
of the White folk ; and few things were more important in 
their moral effect than patience and good temper, and an 
exemplary family behaviour, in face of daily and hourly 
provocation. The fenced garden out of doors, as well as the 


rooms within, which the Natives found all sorts of excuses to 
enter, were constant object-lessons of order, neatness, and 
comfort — lessons not lost upon a people of natural intelligence, 
and with rudiments of good taste in their constitution. The 
failure of English supplies added greatly to the other troubles 
of the missionary colony in its first year at Lakemba. Provisions 
had to be purchased, service remunerated, and the presents 
made which Fijian custom dictated, by means of ' trade ' — i.e. 
articles of barter in demand by the Natives — of which the 
Missionaries kept a varied stock by them. The expenses of 
settlement had been underestimated, and the store grew empty. 
Amongst other mishaps, the flour in the bin turned musty — no 
small calamity for English stomachs imperfectly acclimatized 
to Fijian food. Difficulties of provisioning were increased by 
the visits of important chiefs, who came from various districts 
of Fiji, some of them on purpose to see the Mission. To these 
hospitality must be shown, and such gifts offered as Native 
etiquette required. Now and then, too, the arrival of a British 
ship made demands on the missionary establishment welcome 
in their nature, but adding to its embarrassment in seasons of 

Such an occasion happened in June, 1836, when the Active, 
after landing five Missionaries at Tonga, came on to Lakemba. 
On returning south the vessel was wrecked not far from that 
port ; the escaped mariners, whose lives would in former days 
have been forfeit, were thrown on the care of their fellow 
countrymen. Happily the supplies, along with home letters 
for Lakemba, had been safely landed, and the destitution of 
the Mission families, previously acute, had been relieved before 
this sad tax came on their resources. The visitors repaid their 
entertainers by work done upon the Mission premises, which 
put them for the first time into a satisfactory condition in the 
way of furniture and fittings. Four of the rescued sailors, 
being impatient of delay, and hoping to meet a European vessel 
earlier amongst the Leeward Islands, despite grave warnings, 
made off in that direction in a small boat they had secured. 
The very next day they were espied by a company of cannibals, 
were butchered and devoured ; the result of the adventure, 
when contrasted with the treatment afforded to the ship's crew 
farther south, was a startling proof of the difference made by 
missionary labour in these seas. Before the end of the year a 


British man-of-war visited Fiji, to inquire into the massacre. 
Captain Crozier, the commander of this vessel, who on his way 
had called at Vavau and conveyed from there a further much- 
needed replenishment for the Lakemban stores, accepted the 
assistance of the Missionaries in his investigations. Through 
their mediation the intended punishment was lightened, an 
event redounding to the honour of the Mission, and no less to 
the fame of British moderation and leniency. 

The experiences of privation due to the cost of living at 
Lakemba, and the infrequency of communication, were repeated 
in the following year (1837). A colonial brig had been chartered 
to convey supplies to the Friendly Islands District, in which 
Fiji was then included ; but its captain refused to proceed 
farther than Vavau — the fate of the Active and her murdered 
sailors terrified his men. 

Presently a Tongan canoe reached Lakemba, bearing letters and 
the provoking information that the stores were lying to spoil within 
four hundred miles ! 

The failure of this ship to appear, and the timidity of its crew, 
produced an unfortunate effect on the Fijian mind, while they 
brought the missionary families to the last stage of want. It 
was a time of general scarcity in Lakemba ; the fishing and 
crops had largely failed, and food was at high prices. The 
barter-store was emptied. The Missionaries had to part with 
wearing-apparel, crockery, cooking utensils — everything in 
their houses that was saleable. The Native Christians had 
enough to do to find subsistence for themselves. The king and 
heathen chiefs looked on, content, as it seemed, to watch the 
Mission being starved out. Its own people would not come to 
its help ; why should he trouble himself ? Only at the close 
of 1837 relief came from Tonga, when the Crosses and Cargills, 
with their little children, were nigh to desperation. 

By this time the health of Mr. Cross, never robust since the 
illness he had suffered in Tonga, was much broken. He hoped 
to find some spot in Fiji more favourable to his constitution 
than Lakemba, and invitations to make a home elsewhere were 
not wanting. Reports had spread far of the friendly behaviour 
of the White men of the lotu, and of the benefits accruing from 
their residence. Other chiefs were envious of the King of 
Lakemba. Messages came, in particular, from the powerful 
courts of Mbau and Somosomo, promising friendship and 


shelter to the Missionary who would settle at either of these 
capitals. Lakemba lay on the circumference and fringe of Fiji, 
and policy dictated the carrying of the Gospel as soon as might 
be to its dominant centres. When urged to decide for Chris- 
tianity, Tui Nuyau repeatedly made the excuse that he dare 
not move without the consent of the greater chiefs. Let the 
Missionaries secure the adhesion of Mbau or Rewa or Somo- 
somo, then tributary kings like himself might begin to think 
about adopting the lotu ! Until the Mission had touched the 
larger islands, and struck root in purely Fijian soil, it could 
not be counted as firmly established, nor hope to win the body 
of the nation for Christ. 

Mbau and the other leading towns named were centres of 
heathen superstition as well as of chiefly dominion ; their 
rulers were notorious for deeds of blood and cannibal ruth- 
lessness. These were indeed ' dark places of the earth, full of 
habitations of cruelty ' ; the abominations witnessed by the 
Missionaries in Lakemba were mild and ordinary scenes com- 
pared to the horrors reported from Somosomo and Mbau. 
They could not be deterred by such a prospect ; what had they 
come to Fiji for but to confront the worst of its wickedness ? 
The rule of the Methodist ministry was to ' go to those who need 
you most.' It was determined, therefore, at the end of 1837, 
that Mr. and Mrs. Cross should remove to the inner islands, 
seeking a settlement at Mbau by preference, if the way proved 
open for residence there. So difficult was it at that time to 
find passage that Cross had to pay £125 for transport to the 
master of the only European ship which visited the Fijis 
during this season. The movements resulting from this step 
will be related in the next chapter. Cross and Cargill had 
laboured together for a little more than two years at Lakemba, 
gaining their apprenticeship to Fijian work and laying the 
foundation-stones of Fijian Christianity. With their separation 
the Mission to Fiji entered upon its second stage. 

For another year, assisted only by Tongan helpers, Cargill 
wrought in and around Lakemba, with hardly earned and 
slowly increasing success, until in December, 1838, three young 
Missionaries, each bringing a wife, arrived from England. Their 
coming put the Mission on a new footing. Fiji was now consti- 
tuted a separate District, which held its first Synod in January, 
1839, at Lakemba, under the Chairmanship of David Cargill. 


A powerful Appeal — The Response of the Church — Richard Burdsall 
Lyth — John Hunt — James Calvert — A Missionary Heroine — Christian 
Literature — Thakombau — The Rewan Mission — David Cargill — A 
Round of Inspection — Fire and Sword— Somosomo — Hopeful Signs 
unfulfilled — The Fate of Sodom — Ono — A Case of Betrothal — Lakemba 
again — Conversion of Verani — Revival — Death of John Hunt. 

In the Missionary Notices for February, 1838, * there appeared 
a heart-moving appeal on behalf of Fiji written by James 
Watkin, at this time labouring in Tonga, which gave powerful 
expression to the concern of the Friendly Islands Missionaries 
for the neighbouring group. The Fijian Mission had now 
been for two years in operation. William Cross and David 
Cargill, its first adventurers, had secured a footing in the 
islands, and had found doors of entrance which, if not yet to be 
called ' great and effectual,' were sufficiently wide to invite all 
the labourers Methodism could send to this blood-stained land. 
The Missionary Committee, in issuing Watkin's appeal, 
apologized for some of its statements as ' almost too horrible 
for publicity,' informing the readers that they 

have omitted several disgusting particulars included in the original 
communication, and that neither the whole nor the worst is here told in 
detail. But as such abominations do exist [they add] it would be a 
criminal delicacy that would withhold the substance of these com- 
munications from the public view. . . . They may shock our feelings ; 
but no matter for that, if they do but teach us our duty and stimulate 
us to a due performance of it. 

This cry came from hearts anguish-stricken by near and habitual 
conversance with the horrors of unbridled cannibalism, and 
with skill to sound the proper notes and to reach the conscience 
of home Methodism. 

1 Vol. IX., p. 25. 



After introducing his plea, the writer says : 

Let all the horrors of a cannibal feast be present to your minds 
while you read ; and if you love your species (and we know you do), 
' put on bowels of mercies ' and hasten to send more Missionaries to 
Fiji, that its inhabitants may be saved from literally ' biting and 
devouring one another.' You must not, for the love of God and for the 
love of souls, dare to refuse our petition ; we feel persuaded that you 
will not ! 

The petitioner reminds his readers of the response they have 
made to appeals that have come to them ' on behalf of the 
burning widows from the East ' and of ' the manacled slave 
from the West/ The cry ' Pity poor Africa,' he continues, 

has often been heard by you, and not heard unheed d ; the tear of 
compassion has flowed, the heart of compassion has been almost ready 
to burst with the intensity of feeling, and the hand, with such a 
prompter, has done liberal things. And now we cry, ' Pity poor Fiji ; 
and do it speedily ! ' The case has been too long neglected, and has 
grown almost desperate. 

He answers those who propose remedies for the case : 

' Introduce commerce among them,' say some, ' and that will re- 
move or prevent the evils complained of.' Alas ! brethren, that plan 
has been tried for years ; and are they morally better for it ? Nay, 
verily ! for whenever they can, they kill and eat their commercial 
visitors. ' But introduce,' say others, ' the arts of life ; teach them to 
sow and plant and build, to read and write, to clothe themselves instead 
of going naked, to live at peace instead of making war. In a word, 
civilize them ; and then the evils you deplore will be removed.' But 
where are the apostles of mere civilization who will venture on this 
experiment ? Who that has not a missionary soul will be willing to 
brave the danger of the enterprise ? Who, for problematical success, 
would make the necessary sacrifices ? Not one can be found ! But 
the Missionary of the Cross, with higher motives and heavenly support, 
will do all this and more ! He will Christianize them ; and civilization 
will follow by consequence. 

Mr. Watkin dilates, with some exaggeration due to the im- 
perfect statistics then available, upon the number and popula- 
tion of the Fiji Islands, and compares with this magnitude the 
two or three Missionaries hitherto forthcoming. ' At least 
five stations,' he says, are already marked out, ' which might 
be advantageously occupied,' each of them requiring a couple 
of Missionaries. He urges the necessity for haste. He 


particularizes his appeal, addressing it in turn to the different 
classes of the missionary constituency, and, repeating the 
other calls which greet the ears of the awakened Church, he 
adds this latest poignant and compelling entreaty : ' Pity, oh, 
pity cannibal Fiji ! ' 

The voice crying from the islands of the sea rang through the 
Church with signal effect. Its people were sensitive to the 
cries of human misery and heathen degradation as they have 
not always been in later decades ; they were still in the fresh- 
ness of their first love toward the missionary cause, and pos- 
sessed by the fervour aroused in them through the long- 
sustained and recently successful struggle for the abolition of 
slavery. Few messages from abroad have so immediately and 
intensely affected the Missionary Committee and the Church 
at large. The source from which it came gave additional 
momentum to the challenge, for the amazing revival of re- 
ligion recently witnessed in Tonga had much enhanced the 
influence of the Tonga missionary staff. The fact that the 
attention of Methodism at home was thus fastened upon Fiji 
goes to account for the ignoring of Peter Turner's glorious 
success in Samoa, and of the Samoan claim upon the Church 
domiciled in the Friendly Islands. James Watkin's appeal 
created the bond which linked the Fijis abidingly to the 
sympathies of British Methodism, it set in train the course of 
events which led in forty years' time to the attachment of 
these islands to the British Crown. The March Notices of 
1838 report the ' feeling of intense interest and compassion ' 
awakened by Mr. Watkin's circular in all parts of the 
Connexion. A couple of families in a certain county, hearing 
it read at the Missionary Prayer-meeting, agreed to give 
themselves £120, augmenting this sum to £200 by the aid of 
their friends, 

if the more affluent friends of the cause in other counties will make up 
their ^200 into ^2,000, by sums of ^10 and upwards, so as to provide at 
once for the outfit and passage of six Missionaries and their wives to be 
sent forthwith to the help of Messrs. Cross and Cargill. 

In another small family, ' two of the members,' listening to the 
address, ' immediately doubled their subscriptions to the 
general fund of the Society.' These were samples of incidents 
repeated in every District of Methodism as the cry ' Pity poor 


Fiji ! ' sounded forth. In the same issue of the Notices the 
Missionary Committee announces that 

by a friendly arrangement with the Directors of the London Missionary 
Society, dictated on both sides by principles of Christian prudence and 
catholic generosity, 1 the work of evangelizing, and thereby civilizing, 
the large population of the Fiji Islands is wholly and exclusively 
assigned to the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society. On that 
Society, therefore, a solemn responsibility now devolves, and it must 
be met by suitable exertions, so that ' the blessing of them that are 
ready to perish ' may come upon us, as assuredly ' the curse of Meroz ' 
will overtake us for neglecting to ' come up to the help of the Lord, to 
the help of the Lord against the mighty.' 

The two Fijian Missionaries had asked for a reinforcement of 
ten ; four were promised them by the Committee. Two 
of these were to be drafted from other South Sea stations, and 
two young men were to be sent out as speedily as possible from 
England ; to the latter number a third was added before the 
end of the year. 

Further reinforcements must depend upon the promptitude and 
extent of the pecuniary efforts which may be made to augment the 
general funds of the Society. 

The Committee had reason to fear, at this as at other junctures 
of a similar kind, lest a temporary burst of sympathy should 
lead to the contribution of large donations earmarked for some 
specific object, the expenditure of which might involve the 
Society in burdens too great for its normal income. 

John Spinney and Matthew Wilson (from Tonga) were the 
colleagues already in the field destined by the Mission House 
for the help of Cross and Cargill. The former of these ex- 
cellent men was already suffering from consumption ; on his 
arrival at Lakemba he had to be sent to Australia, where 
shortly afterwards he died. Circumstances compelled Wilson's 
retention on the Tongan staff ; in his place the young physician- 
missionary, Richard Burdsall Lyth, was sent from the Friendly 
Islands, arriving in July, 1839. His accession was a timely 
providence for the work in Fiji. The name of Lyth stands at 
the head of this chapter as that of one of the three great Mis- 
sionaries who worked side by side for nine years, linked in a 

1 This is a reference to the compact of two years earlier, by which the W.M.M.S. 
agreed to retire from Samoa and the L.M.S. from Fiji, each in favour of the companion 


friendship singularly close and sacred ; these were the chief 
creators, under God, of Fijian Christianity. Lyth's eminent 
comrades, though by two years his juniors in the ministry, 
reached Fiji before him ; he started, however, with the ad- 
vantage of an apprenticeship on the kindred field of Tonga. 
A grandson of Richard Burdsall, the famous early Methodist 
Local Preacher of York, and trained for the medical profession, 
his breeding and education conferred on R. B. Lyth 1 a rare 
outfit for the calling to which he devoted himself. His devotion 
was of the purest and noblest kind. The writer remembers 
when a little boy seeing Father Lyth at his grandfather's 
table, and never lost the impression of the sanctity and lovable- 
ness of the aged Missionary's aspect, of his gentle and quiet bear- 
ing and his ripe wisdom. He was a man of great and varied 
ability, and of equal modesty ; not a demonstrative speaker, 
but a most effective doer, strong, patient, wise, considerate, a 
good physician both for soul and body. The Fijians, who 
learned to love him well, and who found behind his mild 
manner resolute firmness for which their ferocity was no match, 
dubbed him ' the carpenter of sickness.' Again and again his 
colleagues and their families owed to Mr. Lyth's skill and 
prompt assistance escape from the most perilous physical 
emergencies. The cures he effected went far to make the 
reputation of the Fiji Mission. Though never on the official 
footing of a medical Missionary, and strictly subordinating 
therapeutic to evangelistic interests, Richard Lyth was one of 
the most effective, as he was the earliest, of the qualified medical 
Missionaries of Methodism. He developed, moreover, a peculiar 
aptitude for the training of Native catechists and teachers ; 
his stations at Lakemba and Viwa became seminaries for rear- 
ing Fijian Preachers. Beside all this Lyth was an accurate and 
thorough linguist, and took a large share in the labours of 
Bible-translation, supplying invaluable criticism and correc- 
tion to the work of his colleagues,, while he made original 
contributions in this field. 

After sixteen years of unsparing labour in Fiji, during the 
last five of which he was Chairman of the District, Richard 
Lyth's strength failed him, and he was compelled to withdraw. 
For three years he occupied the less taxing but honourable 

1 His accomplished younger brother, Dr. John Lyth, for six years conducted the 
Methodist Mission in Germany. The name of Lyth has been fragrant in York 
Methodism for four generations. 



post of Governor to the school for Missionaries' children in 
Auckland, New Zealand. Thence he returned to England in 
1858, to devote himself to Bible revision. From 1869-73 he 
ministered as Chaplain to the British forces at Gibraltar, 
finally retiring from active service at the close of this term. 
Like his companion, James Calvert, Richard Lyth was spared 
to see length of days and to rejoice over the triumph of the 
Gospel in his loved Fiji. He died in his native city on February 
17, 1887, at the age of seventy-seven, full of years and ' satisfied 
with favour.' 

The two fresh Missionaries designated for Fiji at the be- 
ginning of 1839 were Thomas James Jaggar and John Hunt. 
The former, a compositor by trade, was chosen in response to 
Cargill's request for a printing-press and aid in its management. 
The press was shipped, along with the appointed workman. 
Jaggar was a man of energy and zeal, a Preacher of considerable 
force and of good general ability, who for some years ' ran well ' 
in the Fijian Mission ; but through temptation he fell out of 
the ranks at a time of sore need. In John Hunt's appointment 
Mrs. Brackenbury, of Raithby Hall, who had been stirred by 
the piteous cry from Fiji, was personally interested. This 
lady — the venerable widow of the preaching Lincolnshire 
squire, John Wesley's friend — offered to bear the expense of 
young Hunt's outfit and passage and to contribute to his 
maintenance abroad, on condition that the Society would send 
out a second companion with him, thus raising to seven the 
number of Missionaries assigned to Fiji. The Committee 
gladly met Mrs. Brackenbury's wishes, and James Calvert, 
John Hunt's fellow student at Hoxton, was selected to make 
the third of the Fijian expedition. Calvert and Hunt were 
already drawn to each other at college ; the new comradeship 
knit their hearts in one of the most intimate and hallowed friend- 
ships the Methodist ministry has known. Both were mission- 
ary volunteers ; neither had contemplated Fiji as his destina- 
tion. Hunt's eyes were bent on South Africa ; Calvert's 
thoughts had turned to the Navigators' Islands ! On the 
news arriving two years before this date of Peter Turner's 
work in Samoa, 1 and of his request for a Missionary-printer, 
Calvert, then a Local Preacher, who as well as Jaggar was 

1 See chap. iv. The Wesleyan Missionary Committee had not at this time made 
public the evacuation by its forces of the Navigators' Islands. 


versed in this art, had suggested that he might be of service 
there. However, when the call came for Fiji the missionary 
authorities laid their hands on these companion students as the 
fittest for the bold enterprise on foot. In both instances the 
choice was amply justified. 

John Hunt was one of those men of hidden genius whom 
Methodism has discovered in the humbler ranks of rural life, and 
who have rendered, through the scope her ministry afforded 
for their faculties, high and enduring benefits to their genera- 
tion. His father rose scarcely above the position of an 
agricultural labourer ; in his childhood the family suffered 
actual destitution. Set to farm-work at the age of ten, when 
he had barely learnt to read and write, the boy became the 
butt of his rough companions on account of his physical 
delicacy and unhandiness. With a brave heart he surmounted 
ridicule, and bade fair to be a first-rate farming-man. But 
the youth was dreaming of other things. In early life his 
father had served as a soldier ; many a stirring tale of foreign 
lands and deeds of valour he would tell on winter nights. The 
stories set John building airy castles of military prowess and 

At the age of sixteen Hunt's mind took another turn. Though 
unable to read, and untaught in the way of the Gospel, his 
parents had imbued their children with the elements of piety, 
and the lad believed earnestly in prayer and providence. An 
alarming illness led him to read his Bible and to seek God's 
mercy. On returning to his work, he found a Methodist 
fellow labourer, engaged by the farmer during his absence, who 
entered into his changed aspiration, and who took him to the 
Wesleyan chapel, to which from this time he attached himself. 
For many months he remained a painful seeker of salvation, 
until on his removal to a distant village he came under the 
powerful ministry of John Smith, the revivalist, through whose 
teaching he was brought into the clear fight of faith. In the 
house of the next employer — an intelligent and godly man — a 
store of good books was accessible. His slumbering faculties 
awoke ; new worlds of mental vision and power opened before 
him. He had reached the age of nineteen knowing nothing 
of literature beyond the Bible, the Pilgrim's Progress, part of 
the Methodist Magazine for 1812, and a few cheap tracts. His 
farmwork began at times to suffer from absence of mind, as 


when one morning, under orders to take a load of corn to 
Newark, he started off with horses yoked to an empty wagon ! 
His master, an observant and kindly man, saw that deep things 
were working in John's soul, and forthwith insisted on his 
preaching to the villagers when the chapel was left unsupplied. 
The neighbours, who knew the lad's devoted piety, were 
gratified and blessed by the words stumblingly spoken. From 
that evening Hunt was launched upon a country Local 
Preacher's course. His good master cheered him on under the 
sense of his ignorance and uncouthness, saying : ' If the Lord 
calls thee to work, He'll give thee tools to work with.' 

Through many inward struggles and some failures Hunt 
advanced from strength to strength. ' The noble vigour and 
earnestness of his character ' shone out beneath his rude ex- 
terior ; ' he soon became a favourite with the village con- 
gregations.' An evening school furnished means of mental 
improvement of which he made painstaking use. The Lincoln- 
shire country-folk, lovers of good preaching in the dialect, 
flocked to hear this son of the soil ; many hearts were moved 
by his simple yet commanding and appealing utterance. His 
Superintendent Minister, happening to enter Hunt's con- 
gregation on a certain Sunday in 1833, discerned the uncommon 
powers stirring in this farm-labourer, and destined him at once 
for the Preacher's calling. The shy ploughman shrank from 
the thought of the ministry ; but he confessed his ' ambition,' 
as he put it, ' to go to the Cape as a servant to Laidman Hodg- 
son,' the Missionary who had lately visited this district and 
had won the lad's affection. ' He might do gardening for the 
Missionary, and help perhaps a little in teaching in the Sunday 
school and preaching to the English settlers.' This modest 
answer confirmed the Minister's convictions, and he took 
measures to enlarge John Hunt's opportunities for study. 
With such aid the young ploughman made rapid progress in 
culture and in pulpit-power. He was welcome in the city no 
less than, in country congregations ; ' sometimes the whole 
audience bowed before the uplifting of that hard, rough hand, 
and sobs and tears responded to those earnest though 
ungrammatical appeals.' 1 

1 Life of John Hunt, Missionary to the Cannibals, chap. iv. This story, so well 
told by George Stringer Rowe, of one of the noblest and most heroic sons of our Church, 
whose life was a splendid adventure for Christ, should be republished, and read by 
every young Methodist. 


In 1835 William Smith, the Minister above mentioned, 
proposed Hunt to the Mission House for foreign service. The 
Secretaries, who had smiled at Mr. Smith's high-flown com- 
mendation of a Lincolnshire rustic, were compelled on the 
candidate's appearance before them to share his wonder. Hunt 
was sent to the newly-opened Theological Institution at Hoxton, 
where his intellect opened out into its strength and compass. 
His natural taste enabled him to form an excellent English 
style, and to shake off the awkwardness of the countryman ; he 
laid the foundations of an exact knowledge of the sacred 
languages and of Christian theology. His ministry affected 
London congregations only less than those of his native 
district ; 

as he stood up to preach everything about him struck the observers 
with the sense of power. His tall and well-proportioned frame — 
massive but not stout, broad of chest and large of limb — was the true 
type of the soul within. 

He stood out amongst his fellows by head and shoulders in 
native force and capacity, while his humility and genial 
brotherliness made him even more loved than admired, by 
comrades and teachers alike. William Arthur, who was a 
fellow student, testifies to the ' profound respect and affection 
which Hunt inspired at Hoxton.' 

It was with the thought of service in South Africa that Hunt 
had devoted his life to the missionary cause. This hope he had 
been permitted to cherish until the close of his brief college 
course of two years and a half. The Hoxton students 
shared the eagerness of the Church to save Fiji, Hunt 
no less than others ; but he regarded himself as pledged 
to Africa, and it was a shock to learn that the Mis- 
sionary Committee had chosen him for the new field. When 
a friend condoled with him, speaking of the perils and horrors 
of a life amongst cannibals, he exclaimed : ' Oh, that's not it ! ' 
' What is it then ? ' said his companion. With a sob at last he 
replied : 'I'll tell you what it is. That poor girl in Lincoln- 
shire will never go with me to Fiji ; her mother will never 
consent ! ' For six years he had faithfully loved Hannah 
Summers ; she had consented to share his lot anywhere ; but 
this destination had not been contemplated. For her, not for 
himself, the young man trembled. As it proved, Hannah had 


no more hesitation than her lover ; and the mother, though 
fearful at heart, would not stand in the way. They were 
married on March 6. Before the end of this month the three 
designates for Fiji were ordained. They set sail on April 29, 
reached Sydney on August 24, and finally anchored at Lakemba 
on Saturday, December 22, 1838, having spent two months in 
the Australian port, where they transhipped, and ten days 
en route in the Friendly Islands. 

The pages that follow will relate John Hunt's career in Fiji. 
He died at the age of thirty-six, on October 4, 1848, having 
accomplished in ten years the work of a lifetime. His body 
lies in the missionary graveyard at Viwa. 

James Calvert, third of our Fijian trio, like Richard Lyth, 
was a Yorkshireman. He was born at Pickering. During his 
infancy the family removed to the neighbourhood of Malton ; 
there he came under the influences which determined his char- 
acter and future course. Like Hunt, he, too, was a son of the 
soil ; his circumstances in youth were, however, more favour- 
able than those of Hunt, and his schooling better. Ap- 
prenticed to a Malton printer and bookseller at the age of 
fourteen, Calvert was put in the way of acquiring knowledge. 
First his mother's death, then a severe illness befalling himself 
when seventeen years old, led him to seek after God. His 
conversion, culminating a year after, in 1831, was a very 
definite and decisive new birth. Two years later he began to 
preach, at the solicitation of those over him in the Lord ; and 
after four years of Local Preachership he was nominated for 
the ministry from Colchester, whither he had removed in 
pursuing his occupation. Here he was led to interest himself 
in the South Sea Missions, particularly in the work of Peter 
Turner in Samoa. His business training was completed by 
some months spent in the office of James Nichols, the well- 
known Methodist printer in London, where, through the 
assistance of a friendly student of medicine, he obtained access 
to a metropolitan hospital. With his quick discernment and 
practical insight he obtained by this means a grasp of the 
principles of anatomy and therapeutics of great value to him 
in after years. Conscious of the inadequacy of his mental 
outfit, he had begged to be allowed a full course of training ; 
nevertheless he was designated in February, 1838, after 
seventeen months at the Theological Institution, to accompany 


Hunt and Jaggar to Fiji, and sailed along with these brethren 
two months later. The souls of Hunt and Calvert were knit 
together on the voyage like those of David and Jonathan. 

James Calvert's was a comparatively simple nature. He 
had not the intellectual force and range of his associate, nor 
his peculiar intensity of spirit and commanding personality ; 
but his mind was sound and vigorous ; his heart was both 
large and warm in its affections, and formed for friendship. 
His good humour, buoyancy of spirit, and bonhomie made him 
lovable in all circles. He excelled in shrewdness and good 
sense, and in the art of dealing with his fellows. Nothing 
escaped his observation, and his judgement of men and of 
circumstances was rarely at fault. 

Common sense, robust and quick [says William Arthur in describing 
him], with feeling both intense and tender, backed by a vigorous will, 
gave you a man of clear purpose and forcible impulse, prompt in 
decision, swift of step, ready of speech, and capable of a tear. 

The equal of his friend in courage and self-reliance, he pos- 
sessed powers of physical endurance which proved to be 
greater. James Calvert had his share of the Yorkshireman's 
independence and outspokenness ; he never feared to stand 
alone, or to do battle for what he judged to be right against 
any odds. 

Calvert, like his companion, went out to Fiji taking a wife 
with him ; those on the field strongly deprecated the sending 
to this quarter of unmarried Missionaries. Previously to the 
unexpected call to Fiji he had little thought of wedlock. He 
had, however, visited the home of his college friend, Philip 
Fowler, ' and when he understood that he must seek a helpmeet 
his heart turned to Mary Fowler. The courtship was short but 
very satisfactory. Mary Calvert (as she now became) was a 
match for her husband in missionary zeal and in all his best 
qualities of heart and mind. She shared the toils of his first 
period of seventeen years' labour in Fiji, came home with him 
to England in 1855, an d returned to the Fijian work five years 

1 Philip Fowler (1839-1887) was amongst the choicest of the distinguished band 
of Hoxton students and filled an honoured place in the home ministry. His son, 
James Calvert Fowler, gave four years' missionary service to India. Driven home 
by loss of health, he proved himself a Preacher of force and distinction ; but his 
constitution was permanently impaired, and he survived his father only by two years. 


When declining strength enforced their quitting the tropics 
in 1864, after a few years of recuperation the Calverts, at the 
call of the Missionary Society, made a new pilgrimage to South 
Africa. In various parts of this arduous field Mr. Calvert 
wrought for eight years (1872-1880), exercising a wise fatherly 
influence amidst the rush of new population, the clash of races, 
and the fever of gainseeking, which ran high at that period. 
His presence did much to give stability to Methodist Church 
life in South Africa, and prepared the way for the establish- 
ment of the Colonial Conference, set up in 1882. In going to 
and fro Mr. Calvert had spent a considerable time in Australia ; 
he was amongst the most welcome and popular Methodist 
visitors to that continent. 

Mrs. Calvert's health, which had been wonderfully sustained 
through all the trials of their work in Fiji, gave way during the 
closing years of the sojourn in South Africa, and she died 
shortly after their return to England. Her life-story has been 
related by the skilful pen of George Stringer Rowe. l The name 
of Mary Calvert ranks amongst the heroines of Christian 
Missions. James Calvert was spared to his Church to a hale old 
age. In 1885 the Jubilee arrived of the coming of the Gospel 
to Fiji. Calvert felt the liveliest interest in the celebration, but 
could only participate in it from a distance. Next year, finding 
himself in more vigorous health, he determined, at his own 
expense, and though now in his seventy-third year, to revisit 
the South Seas. In the forty-eight years since his first voyage 
the length of the journey had been reduced from eight months 
to two ! One of the motives which prompted the undertaking 
was the hope of ending the schism which had rent the Methodist 
Church in the Friendly Islands. On reaching Fiji, where he 
landed at Suva on July 19, Calvert proceeded forthwith to 
Tonga upon this errand. In the old days he had been intimately 
acquainted with King George Tubou, and still counted upon 
his friendship. To his sore disappointment, he failed to recon- 
cile the aged king and the ' Free Church ' of his establishment 
to the parent Mission. His sojourn of a month in Tonga did 
something, however, to mitigate the strife. Returning to Fiji 
at the end of August, he revisited the scenes of his early 

1 The Life of Mary Calvert. This little book is a model of biography, and should 
be prized as a Methodist classic. A biography of her husband from the same pen, 
under the title James Calvert of Fiji, appeared in 1893. Mr. Stringer Rowe devoted 
his literary gifts especially to the South Seas Missions. 


ministry, preaching everywhere to English and Natives so far 
as strength allowed, and noting with gratitude to God the 
wonderful changes for good effected in the islands within his 
lifetime. At this date Fiji had been incorporated in the British 
Empire for seven years ; but King Thakombau, with whose 
conversion Calvert's labours in Fiji had culminated, had passed 
away. On the last day of September the old Missionary set 
his face homeward once more. He crossed the Pacific by way 
of New Zealand and Honolulu, and traversed by rail the 
American continent, receiving much hospitality on the way, 
and speaking to crowds of hearers on the things of God and the 
scenes of his life-work. He landed at Liverpool safe and sound 
exactly six months after starting on his journey. For nearly 
six years longer the life of this great Missionary was extended. 
To the last he was in great request for missionary gatherings, 
to which his stalwart and venerable figure, his frank and hearty 
utterance, and graphic stories of Fiji, furnished a unique 
contribution. By a sudden stroke he was summoned away on 
March 8, 1892. His latest years were spent at Hastings, where 
his body lies, and where the ' Calvert Memorial Chapel ' 
preserves his memory. 

No account of James Calvert would be complete without 
reference to his labours on the Fijian Bible. John Hunt laid 
the foundation of the work, completing before he died the 
original translation of the New Testament, and leaving in 
manuscript a rendering of considerable parts of the Old. 
Cargill had previously printed a Fijian rendering of St. Mark. 
Calvert inherited this sacred task from his friend. Other 
Missionaries collaborated with these, Richard B. Lyth, David 
Hazlewood, and Thomas Williams in particular ; the work 
underwent much revision in detail before it was committed to 
the press. James Calvert, however, had a special knowledge 
of vernacular idioms, and skill in turning Native help to 
account. His apprenticeship to the printer's trade had also 
gone to qualify him for editorship. He returned to England 
in 1855 in order to superintend, at the instance of the Bible 
Society, the production of the first complete edition of the 
Fijian Scriptures. For forty years this business, in one shape 
or other, was constantly in his hands. In 1890 he revised for 
the Bible Society, and read the proofs, of the Fijian New 
Testament in its seventh edition. ' About the same time he 


carried through the press a Hymn-book, catechism, and a Book 
of Offices, all in the Fijian language.' The publishing of Hunt's 
precious Letters on Entire Sanctification (in English), which 
were written at Calvert's request and addressed in the first 
instance privately to him, and of Hunt's theological lectures to 
his pupils (in Fijian), were due to his friend's affectionate care. 
More than any other man, James Calvert was the creator of 
Fijian literature. A faithful servant of the Bible Society, he 
was amongst its most effective advocates through life, pleading 
its cause wherever opportunity offered and in all sorts of 

The three men above described were not the only Fijian 
Missionaries of note during their time, but they were the most 
notable ; in their hands the chief interests of the Mission were 
placed ; on their counsel and action its main movements 
turned during the forties and early fifties, when the power of 
heathenism was broken in Fiji. In anticipation of the coming 
of helpers from home their predecessors had already divided 
the field between them. Cross in the beginning of 1838 had 
established himself at Rewa, while Cargill remained at the 
original station of Lakemba, the centre by this time of a 
growing Circuit. The rival towns of Mbau and Rewa were but 
twenty miles distant, the former situated on an islet close to 
the east coast of Viti Levu, the latter twelve miles up the large 
river debouching on the south-east of the mainland. These 
two capitals disputed the dominion of Viti Levu and the out- 
lying islands ; at present they were on terms of precarious 
alliance — Rewa had harboured King Tanoa (who was now 
restored) in his banishment from Mbau. William Cross had 
sailed from Lakemba intending to settle at Mbau, from which 
the Missionaries had received hopeful overtures. 

A sanguinary revolution took place at Mbau not long before 
this time. The old King Tanoa had some years earlier been 
driven into exile by a conspiracy of subordinate chiefs. His 
sons were , massacred, except the stripling Seru, who was 
regarded as a harmless youth. Under a guise of simplicity Seru 
concealed extraordinary craft and daring. He bided his time, 
weaving a skilful counterplot, until on a certain dark night, 
with a band of accomplices, he fired the town of Mbau and cut 
down his helpless enemies as they rushed out to escape the 
flames. Through this exploit the dynasty was re-established, 


and Tanoa was placed on his throne. Cross happened to 
arrive during the cannibal orgy by which the restoration was 
celebrated. Tha-ko-mbau (Evil-to-Mbau, the name conferred 
on the hero of the coup d'etat) received his visitor with courtesy, 
and offered him land for a house, but advised delay in the 
settlement. The spectacle which met the Missionary as he 
stepped on shore was, however, so shocking, and the excitement 
prevailing at Mbau appeared so unfavourable for his work, 
that he withdrew, to seek entrance at Rewa instead. The King 
of Rewa, who was flattered by the preference, offered protection 
and land ; he promised that his people should be free to accept 
lotu. The Mission thus gained a footing on the mainland of 
Viti Levu, at one of the chief centres of Fijian influence. Mbau 
felt itself slighted by the change of plan ; it was many years 
before any Missionary was allowed to live within this town. 

It was hoped that the change of location would benefit Mr. 
Cross's health, which had declined in Lakemba. This hope was 
fulfilled. The dwelling at first assigned to him in Rewa was 
small and damp ; he was brought by fever and cholera to 
death's door, and owed his restoration to the help of David 
Whippy, an American settler of Ovalau, who for many years 
was active in Fijian affairs and in various ways befriended the 
Mission. The king now set about building a proper house for 
the Missionary ; a school was also started on Cross's recovery 
from sickness, and the Mission began to make headway. The 
conversion of a leading chief provided a suitable preaching- 
room at Rewa, and a congregation, sometimes numbering a 
hundred persons, was gathered for Christian worship. Persecu- 
tion inevitably arose, instigated especially by the king's 
brother ; but the royal power was used to protect the 
Christians ; there was hope that Rewa would be won for 
Christ. When, on the arrival of the three young men from 
England at the close of the year, the Synod was held, it was 
agreed that Hunt should go at once to Rewa with a view to 
relieving Cross. But by this time Cross's health had improved, 
and he could not think of leaving the Hunts alone amongst 
savages, whose speech they had yet to learn. Jaggar and 
Calvert remained at Lakemba, working at the language. The 
printing-press brought by the new-comers was set up ; Cargill 
had material prepared for it ; the Gospel according to Mark 
and the First Wesleyan Catechism were printed early in 1839. 


For the press to be so quickly brought into use in a totally new- 
language was unprecedented. Cargill's versions left much to 
be desired ; the astonishing thing was that they should be 
forthcoming at this date. 

The Rewan Mission had already received an important 
extension. Within sight of Mbau is the island of Viwa, then 
ruled by Namosimalua, a powerful sub-king of the Mbauan 
dominion. This potentate, though a monster of crime, was one 
of the most discerning men in Fiji — the Ulysses of island 
politics. He advised the destruction of Seru when his father 
Tanoa was overthrown at Mbau, but afterwards worked 
successfully for Tanoa's restoration. Some time back Namo- 
simalua had been implicated, along with his nephew Verani, * 
in the destruction of a French trading- vessel on the coast, whose 
crew were devoured by their captors. For this crime Viwa was 
laid in ashes by a French ship-of-war early in 1838, and the 
king fled for his life to the mainland. ' This calamity brought 
Namosimalua to consideration, and made him look anxiously 
to the lotu.' He sent a respectful message to Rewa asking for a 
Christian teacher, and announced to Tanoa his intention to 
accept lotu. Knowing Namosimalua's reputation, Cross 
hesitated to oblige him, but finally consented. The teacher 
was well received ; a chapel was built for him, where the king 
himself worshipped, discarding cannibalism and the heathen 
practices, and encouraging his people to learn the White 
man's religion. His sincerity was doubtful, and he never 
conformed thoroughly to the faith he professed ; but a change 
certainly took place in Namosimalua's disposition, and in the 
main he consistently stood by the lotu. His judgement 
decided in favour of Christianity, if his heart remained heathen. 

With two Missionaries at Rewa it was possible to pay a fort- 
nightly visit to Viwa, where the prospects were on the whole 
more encouraging. At the two places together there were now 
140 professed worshippers of Jehovah, some of whom ' brought 
forth fruits meet for repentance.' Hunt relates how a plot was 
discovered against the life of Namosimalua, when, to the 
astonishment of his people, he not only spared the relatives of 
his assailant on the ground that Christianity forbids punishing 
the innocent with the guilty, but even forgave the traitor on 

1 Fijian, like ancient Roman warriors, commemorated their exploits by assuming 
a new title. Verani was the Native pronunciation of French, a trophy of the young 
Viwan's capture of the luckless foreign ship. 


his supplication for mercy. ' The man thus generously par- 
doned,' adds the Missionary, ' is now a member of the Church.' 
Christianity was unmistakably beginning to be understood and 
its power felt in bloodstained Fiji. Though not allowed a 
residence on Mbau, the Missionaries frequently called there 
when visiting Viwa ; they made themselves acquainted with 
the Court, and particularly with Thakombau, the de facto ruler. 
This young man displayed remarkable intelligence and appre- 
ciation of European arts and ideas ; he sought friendship with 
the Missionaries, reciprocated their kindness and revered their 
character, and enjoyed discussion with them, while he retained 
all the ferocity and lustfulness of the Fijian nature. The Mbau 
people were in frequent communication with Viwa and Rewa, 
and learnt much about Christianity through these channels ; 
its effect on Namosimalua impressed the whole district. 

The King of Somosomo, like his fellow monarchs of Mbau and 
Rewa, envied the advantages which accrued to Lakemba from 
the Missionaries' presence. He requested the like favour for 
himself, promising security and facilities for his work to the 
English teacher who should be sent to his people. Somosomo 
was the capital of Taviuni, an island lying off the south-east 
of Vanua Levu. Though paying fealty to Mbau, it was counted 
amongst the chief powers of Fiji. Its people were regarded as 
the most atrocious cannibals in the archipelago. But their 
being the chief of sinners was no deterrent for the messengers 
of the Saviour of sinners ; the invitation to the Missionaries 
seemed to bespeak in them some sense of spiritual need. In 
reality it was the abundance of iron pots and knives and axes, 
which the Somosoman King understood to be obtained at 
Lakemba through barter with the resident Europeans, that 
excited his cupidity ; he looked on the Missionary as an 
importer of foreign wares — possibly muskets and gunpowder — 
without the slightest interest in his religion. Cargill and his 
colleagues, however, took the proposals from this unexpected 
quarter seriously ; on Lyth's arrival from the Friendly Islands 
in 1839 it was resolved to send him to Somosomo, accompanied 
by Hunt, who in six months at Rewa had acquired an astonish- 
ing command of the language. Lyth was a novice in this 
respect, but his medical accomplishments supplied a good 
introduction. In place of the Spinneys, who arrived at 
Lakemba along with the Lyths only to be sent on to Australia, 


Thomas Williams and his wife were dispatched from England ; 
they landed a year later than the Lyths. In the redistribution 
of the staff Cargill and Jaggar were removed to Rewa, which, 
as the central station, was made the head quarters of the 
Mission. Cross was designated for Mbau, in reliance upon the 
original invitation from that capital ; but Thakombau's pride 
had been hurt by Mr. Cross's previous withdrawal, and the 
site promised for a Mission house was refused. Cross found, 
however, a welcome at Viwa, hard by. The Calverts remained 
in Lakemba, where they laboured alone until the coming of 
Mr. and Mrs. Williams. It was a severe test for the six-months- 
old Missionary to have the charge of the principal post in the 
islands laid upon him ; but James Calvert rose to the occasion, 
and the work of the Lakemba Circuits went forward under his 
leadership. Four important stations were thus occupied by the 
six Missionaries before the end of 1839, two of these being 
situated in the middle of the group, on or close to its largest 
island, a third lying far to the north-east and in the neighbour- 
hood of the other extensive mainland, while the fourth, the 
mother-station at Lakemba, in the south-east, linked the Fijian 
to the Tongan Mission, which furnished a base of supply for 
the former. 

Of these four missionary centres Viwa was for some years the 
most interesting and critical. Its people excelled other Fijians 
in intelligence and vivacity. They were apt scholars and ready 
hearers of the Gospel, if they were slow to yield to its moral 
demands. Namosimalua and his principal chiefs stood firmly 
by the lotu, under many gusts of ill-temper and threatening 
from Mbau. The Viwans signally displayed the Christian spirit 
when, in making war, under Thakombau's orders, on a town in 
Vanua Levu, they fed their besieged enemies and spared their 
lives upon surrender. The restless intrigues and incessant wars 
of the young Mbauan leader kept his neighbours in turmoil, 
and Viwa was involved in most of the quarrels of the lord 
paramount. Verani was Thakombau's bosom friend and the 
abettor of his schemes, into which Namosimalua was some- 
times dragged reluctantly by his nephew. A strong Christian 
party was formed in Viwa, under the favour of the old king ; 
within the circle of adherents there was a nucleus of convinced 
believers, several of whom manifested a thorough change of 
heart. In 1840 Cross reported the accession of ten Church 


members, two of these being chiefs from a distance. He lived 
to see the beginning of a true Church of God in Viwa. 

The course of this devoted Missionary was nearing its end. 
He was a gentle, self-depreciating man, never of robust energy 
or overflowing vitality ; when he was designated in the first 
instance for New Zealand, Nathaniel Turner had thought him 
wanting in spirit and hardihood. The estimate was mistaken ; 
there was a quiet heroism in William Cross which no danger 
could daunt and no violence overpower. He was the pioneer 
in turn at Lakemba, Rewa, and Viwa. His colleagues begged 
him to take rest and to recruit his health, as he had formerly 
done during his term in the Friendly Islands, by a voyage to 
Australia ; he refused to go, seeing that he could only gain relief 
by bringing a crushing load on younger shoulders. So he 
stayed at his post, to the sacrifice, as it proved, of his own life. 
In the course of 1842 he removed to Somosomo to secure 
Lyth's medical care, Hunt taking his place at Viwa ; but 
disease had made fatal progress in his frame, the long voyage 
hastened the collapse, and on October 15 in that year he died, 
his last utterance being, ' Best for a Missionary to go home ! ' 
He was literally tired to death, after eight years of labour and 
suffering in the Friendly Islands and six in Fiji. He left a 
widow and five children, to mourn a most tender and devoted 
husband and father. William Cross was buried at Somosomo, 
in the little graveyard where the body of John Hunt's first-born 
already lay. * 

At the time of his death Cross had presided over the Fijian 
District for two years. David Cargill, who, in succession to 
Cross, in January, 1839, took charge of the Rewan Mission, 
where he found a house built and ' a small band of noble 
converts ' gathered ' who had suffered great losses for Christ's 
sake,' was not permitted to occupy this post for long. His 
work at Rewa was terminated by the death of Mrs. Cargill, 
which occurred on June 2, 1840. Margaret Cargill, of whom a 
touching and instructive Memoir was published by her husband, 
' was a woman of rare and excellent spirit,' combining energy 
and ardour of soul with womanly tact and gentleness. She was 
a typical Methodist lady, who found time and strength amid 
her thronging motherly cares to serve the Church of God 

1 Hunt wrote a Memoir of the Rev. William Cross, with a Short Notice of the Early 
History of the Missions, which was published in London within a few years of his death. 


amongst the Fijian women at Lakemba and Rewa. She was 
greatly valued by her husband's colleagues and their families, 
being mother to them all ; and she doubled his influence with 
the Natives. A woman such as she was appeared in the eyes 
of the heathen even a greater wonder and sign from God than 
a man of like devotion and purity. The dying wife charged her 
husband to take their four children to England ; they could 
not be reared in Fiji unmothered. He sailed for home, there- 
fore, in September of that year, and never saw Fiji again ; the 
Chairmanship devolved on William Cross. After a brief sojourn 
at home Mr. Cargill returned to his first sphere of labour in 
Tonga ; but his work was cut short by the sudden stroke of 
death which befell him at Vavau in April, 1843, six months 
after the decease of his companion Cross in Fiji. David Cargill 
was a Scotchman of strong character and of rare industry and 
powers of acquisition. His journal gives evidence of close 
observation of Native customs and ways of thought. He had 
capacity for rendering the highest service to the South Sea 
Missions in the way of linguistic research ; and he returned to 
the field intending to devote himself specially to Bible transla- 
tion and literary production. His piety was strict and deeply 
serious, with a touch of the old Covenanting austerity about 
it, and with something of the scholar's preciseness, which his 
junior English colleagues did not always relish. In these 
qualities he would doubtless have mellowed with advancing 
years. He was called away in early middle life, while his work 
was immature. 

The eighteen months of the Cargills' sojourn in Rewa were a 
time of storm and stress. The king and queen were genuine 
friends to Christianity ; though the former remained a heathen, 
he professed admiration for the lotu, attending its worship now 
and then, and interposed to safeguard the Missionaries and 
their people. He renounced cannibalism for himself, though 
he would not suppress it amongst his subjects. Soon after the 
coining of Cargill and Jaggar he assisted them to build a chapel, 
which stood, with the rest of the missionary establishment, on 
the side of the river opposite to the heathen town. Here the 
converts gathered round their pastors, and were in comparative 
security. In the king's brother, Ratu Nggara, the Mission had 
a passionate enemy. The plots and acts of violence of this able, 
resolute, and influential man against the /ctfw-people were 


ceaseless. More than once he attempted to burn down the 
Mission premises. After frequent quarrels with his brother he 
was banished from Rewa, and raised a civil war in its outlying 
dependencies. A second royal brother of the king, named 
Thokonauto (also Phillips 1 ), helped to foil these dastardly 
attempts. Apart from the dispute about the lotu, brawls and 
fights were chronic amongst the Re wan chiefs. In September, 
1839, a deadly epidemic of influenza, imported (it was supposed) 
by English sailors, and ascribed to the anger of the gods against 
the Papalangi, brought odium upon the Mission ; the calamity 
gave its enemies an opportunity of which they made eager use. 
A massacre of the Christians was narrowly averted. For 
months the Mission families were in continual fear ; they and 
their disciples were exposed to daily threats and nightly alarms. 
The strain of the situation, and the anxiety falling on Mrs. 
Cargill through her husband's dangerous illness in April follow- 
ing, overtaxed this lady's strength, bringing about her sad 
death and the termination of Mr. Cargill's ministry in Fiji. 

The troubles of the missionary settlement were aggravated 
by a hurricane visiting the district early in 1840, which all but 
wrecked the unfinished Mission buildings, and suspended for a 
time the work of the station. But for the liberal help afforded 
by the king this disaster might have proved overwhelming. 

The infant Church was enabled to hold its ground through 
the tempest of adversities, and its life struck deep root. The 
Missionaries were cheered by the unswerving attachment of 
the handful of converts won for Christ ; their number steadily 
grew, and some signal conversions gave a foretaste of brighter 
days. Amongst these was the young Chief Matanambamba, 
a political exile from Mbau, who had abetted Nggara in his 
persecuting tricks. This young man, falling into severe sick- 
ness, was haunted by dreams in which he saw himself punished 
for the wrongs done to the servants of Christ. He came in 
penitence to the Mission house and besought Christian care. 
Here he found medicine for his sickness both of body and soul, 
and recovering, became henceforth an intelligent and, on the. 
whole, exemplary Christian, though his youth had been stained 
with the worst Fijian vices. This man's conversion, which 

1 This man had consorted with English traders, and spoke the foreign language ; 
from this companionship he had acquired the habit of drunkenness. For a while 
Thokonauto reigned at Rewa after his elder brother's death, but he soon came to a 
miserable end- 



occurred about the time of Mrs. Cargill's death, together with 
the banishment of Ratu Nggara, led to an abatement of per- 
secution. The Rewa Missionaries were assisted by Joel Bulu, 
foremost of the many helpers furnished by Tonga to the Fijian 
Mission ; by this time Joel had become a serviceable printer. 
They found opportunity to itinerate in the neighbouring 
country, which before the war with Mbau was full of thriving 
villages ; in several of these friendships were formed and 
circles of hearers gathered, supplying vantage-points for future 
extension. A footing was gained at Suva, * a port eighteen miles 
west of Rewa, where the Chief Ravulo, who was a relative of 
Tanoa of Mbau, became an earnest believer, and opened his 
house for preaching. Visitors to Rewa from other islands 
carried far and wide the seeds of the saving truths they had 
heard and the new life they had witnessed. 

John Waterhouse, the General Superintendent of South Sea 
Missions, called at Rewa on his round of inspection in June, 
1841, subsequently to Cargill's departure. He was well 
satisfied with the progress of the Circuit and the condition of 
the missionary establishment. To his astonishment the 
Natives had constructed a timber bridge over the Rewa River, 
147 feet in length, with thirteen spans and fourteen feet above 
water, which connected the Christian settlement with the town 
and the royal dwelling ; it was a pledge of amity. Waterhouse 
was treated by the king with marked deference and respect. 
He joined in the intercessions made by the Rewa chiefs for the 
pardon and recall of Ratu Nggara, whose disposition toward 
the lotu, it was believed, had been softened. After some demur 
the culprit was restored and behaved more reasonably. Every- 
thing bade fair at this time for the spreading of the Gospel in 
this region. Thomas Jaggar, assisted by Joel Bulu, was in 
charge of the Circuit, and showed himself an efficient Super- 
intendent. A Church membership of thirty-three, well sifted 
by persecution, was reported to the Conference at home, with 
a goodly number on trial. Teachers were posted on Kandavu, 
the large and important island south of Viti Levu, and politi- 
cally subject to Rewa. Schools were multiplied throughout 
the area ; lesson-books were forthcoming from the busy press. 
The king was liberal and appreciative, being convinced that 

1 Suva, which afiords the best harbour in the whole of Fiji, was made the seat 
of British Government soon after the annexation. 


the Missionaries were the best friends of his people. ' The 
lotu,' he said, ' makes all the land to move ! ' For all this, 
while he listened to the missionary gladly and often assented, 
his life was unchanged, except on the one point of man-eating ; 
he countenanced cannibalism in his country and delighted in 
war, which he carried on with a cruelty scarcely abated. 
Widow-strangling continued unchecked, and it was thought a 
triumph for the lotu when the wife of a former heathen priest 
who had ' died in the Lord ' escaped the fatal noose. 

The brightened prospects of the Rewa Mission were quickly 
overcast. In Kandavu trouble arose, through false reports, 
which roused the passions of Ratu Nggara ; he carried fire and 
sword into this island, and the Mission was wrecked at the 
moment when the principal chief had joined the lotu and the 
people were flocking for instruction. The work in Kandavu, 
so full of promise, was perforce abandoned, not to be resumed 
for many years. Persecution, attended with foul outrages, 
now revived at Rewa. A Christian woman was murdered to 
provide a feast, and her body rescued by Jaggar for burial at 
the risk of his own life. In 1843 the town of Suva, where a 
little Church had been formed, after many attacks was captured 
and destroyed by a Rewan expedition. A hundred persons 
were killed, and most of them eaten. This important place, 
claimed by the King of Rewa as within his territory, had for a 
considerable time paid tribute to Mbau ; its seizure was a 
breach of friendship with that ruling town, which Thakombau 
was not the man to overlook. The Mbau chief, however, re- 
strained his anger and sought an explanation, but was defiant 
and confident of its strength, and war began which proved 
calamitous for the aggressor. The King of Rewa relied on the 
support of Raivalita, a brother of Thakombau, who was vasu 
(nephew on the mother's side 1 ) at the Rewan court. On the 
other hand, Thokonauto, his own brother, was in league with 
Mbau. By the time of the Fijian Synod held in August, 1844, 
the war had gone badly against the Re wans. Their capital 
was already invested, and the premises of the Mission, situated 
on the exposed side of the river, were in great danger. It was 
determined to remove the printing-press to Viwa, and for the 

1 The Fijian vasu was a privileged person in the house of his maternal uncle, 
and frequently made his home there. By custom he had the right to appropriate 
any possession of his uncle's that he desired. This relationship appears to have been 
a remnant of the primitive matriarchate. 


present to withdraw the Missionary, leaving a couple of Native 
teachers in the Circuit. The war dragged along, until in the 
middle of 1846 Raivalita was killed ; and, through an act of 
treachery, Rewa was taken by the enemy. Its king was put to 
death, and his traitorous brother installed in his place. The 
remaining brother Nggara fled to the highlands of Viti Levu, 
where fugitives from Rewa rallied round him. Waging from 
his mountain fastness a guerilla warfare against the Mbauans, 
he recovered at length his hereditary kingdom. Nggara proved 
a deadly antagonist to Thakombau's supremacy in Fiji. The 
Christians in Rewa were killed or scattered in the destruction 
of the town ; the surrounding district was laid waste and its 
population decimated in the struggle. In 1852, when Rewa had 
been rebuilt and flourished once more, a Native teacher was 
planted in this town. Two years later Ratu Nggara's power 
had become firmly established ; the Missionary William Moore 
took charge of the station, which renewed its prosperity. The 
remembrance of the first Missionaries had not been lost ; some 
of their converts survived, and a salutary conviction prevailed 
that the calamities suffered by Rewa were due to its rejection 
of the servants of God. 

King Nggara (for such he now was) became almost as great 
a friend to the lotu as he had been formerly its enemy. His 
implacable hostility to Mbau was the chief hindrance to his 
conversion. Gradually the power of Rewa grew in the pro- 
tracted duel between these states, and that of Mbau waned ; 
and the overthrow of the latter was only averted by the sudden 
death of Nggara, which happened in January, 1855. The 
Rewan king had been urged by his own friends to accept 
Christianity ; his better feelings dictated this course ; but he 
refused. ' If we all lotu,' he said, ' we must give up fighting ; 
it will not do to pray to the same God and fight with each other.' 
He had sworn to eat Thakombau ! His enemy accepted lotu, 
after long and stout resistance ; the tide of victory ran more 
strongly against him. Nggara observing this, x and seeing the 
coveted revenge within his grasp, rejected Thakombau's proffers 
of peace and invitation to share his repentance. In reply, 
King Nggara identified himself with the national deities, and 

1 To Mr. Moore, who remonstrated with him for some act of cannibalism, Nggara 
said : ' Only this I know, your religion fails. Ever since he accepted lotu Thakombau 
has continued to go down, and neither you nor your religion can screen him. Protect 
him if you can ! * 


boldly defied the God of the Christians to save Mbau from fire, 
or its master from being clubbed and eaten by the warriors of 
Rewa.' The heathen temples were rebuilt, and plentiful 
sacrifices offered. 

The beating of the lotu-drum was forbidden, and the Christian 
worship might no longer be celebrated in the usual place, lest the gods 
of Rewa should be made angry. 

The heathen priests promised Nggara complete success. So 
the conflict became openly a battle between Jehovah and the 
false gods. When the King of Rewa was smitten down with 
disease on the eve of certain triumph, and with his death the 
coalition against Mbau dissolved, the effect upon Fiji was 
immense ; heathenism, as a political power, fell to rise no more. 

Somosomo had been marked out from the beginning as a 
strategic centre, to be seized by the Mission so soon as it had 
the strength for occupation. Hither Hunt and Lyth were 
sent in July, 1839 — the picked men of the Mission. It was a 
terrible ordeal the young Missionaries entered upon, with their 
gentle and refined English wives — one of them ' that poor girl 
from Lincolnshire ! ' They were not unaware of the character 
of the Somosomans. ' The Rewans,' writes Hunt, in announc- 
ing his removal, ' speak of them in nearly the same strain in 
which the English speak of Fijians in general.' No one at a 
distance could imagine the horrible scenes of almost daily 
occurrence at this seat of Satan. Tui Thakau, the king, had 
made persuasive pleas for the sending of Missionaries ; now 
that they had come they were treated with cool indifference. 
' The old king's great house was given up for the use of the 
two famihes, but beyond this no one seemed to notice them.' 
Ready enough to barter for the goods of the Papalangi, the 
people were utterly unconcerned about their teaching. This 
reception was very different from that accorded to the Mis- 
sionaries at Lakemba and at Rewa,' where, whatever hostility 
was manifested, there was abundant hospitality, and from the 
king downward all classes of the Natives were interested, at 
least by way of curiosity, in the talk of the White men. About 
the time of the strangers' coming the king's youngest son was 
lost at sea. Hunt and Lyth approached His Majesty to plead 
for the lives of his widows ; their intercession was scornfully 
rejected. Sixteen women were strangled in honour of the 


young chief and his companions ; and Tui Thakau 1 was 
angered at the interference of the foreigners. Instead of con- 
cealing their fiendish deeds, the Somosomans paraded them 
before the eyes of the missionary households. One example 
of the horrors thus endured may serve for many. On February 
7, 1840, John Hunt writes : 

Last Monday afternoon, as soon as our Class-meeting (held for the 
missionary establishment) was over, a report came that some dead men 
were being brought here from Lauthala. . . . Almost before we had 
time to think the men were laid on the ground before our house, and 
chiefs and priests and people met to divide them to be eaten. They 
brought eleven to our settlement ; it is not certain how many have 
been killed, but some say two or three hundred, others not more than 
thirty. . . . The manner in which the poor wretches were treated was 
most shamefully disgusting ; they did not honour them as much as 
they do pigs ! 

The cannibals took offence at the closing of the Mission blinds 
to exclude the revolting scene. So near were their cooking- 
ovens, rarely cool, that the odour was constantly in evidence. 
The fearless reproofs administered by the servants of God 
exasperated the perpetrators beyond measure. One day Tui 
Kilakila, the king's son, came in a fury brandishing his club, 
and, seizing Hunt in one hand and Lyth in the other — he was 
a man of prodigious size and strength — would have brained 
Lyth on the spot. More than once, probably, Hunt's com- 
manding presence, and a certain personal magnetism there was 
about him, saved the party from destruction ; there was always, 
moreover, the fear of British warships and their guns in the 

After a succession of insults and acts of violence, accom- 
panied by thefts, the hatred of the Somosomans reached its 
climax. The Mission house was surrounded one night by a 
crowd of howling Natives, while the chiefs consulted about the 
fate of its occupants. 

These devoted men and women looked at one another and at their 
little ones as those only can who believe that their hours are numbered. 
. . They betook themselves to prayer ... one after another calling 
upon God through the long hours of that terrible night, determined that 
their murderers should find them at prayer. . . . Just at midnight each 
pleading voice was hushed and each head bowed lower, as the stillness 

1 This was the title of the reigning sovereign of Somosomo. Hunt describes 
him, on his first impressions, as ' a fine old man, above seventy, with a frank and kind 
face.' Yet he must have been one of the most cruelly wicked wretches on earth. 


outside was broken by a wild and ringing shout. But the purpose of 
the people was changed, and that cry was but to call out the women to 
dance ; and thus the night passed safely. 

The Missionaries were to be left unmolested, as their residence 
was of commercial use ; but death and the oven were declared 
the penalty for any who should accept their doctrine. About 
this time Commodore Wilkes, commanding the United States 
Exploring Expedition, touched at Somosomo. Compas- 
sionating the plight of the missionary families, he put one of 
his vessels at their service for conveyance from this intolerable 
abode. They thanked him for the kind proposal, but resolved 
to stay on, believing that they were in the place of duty, and 
confident that love would conquer hate. 

In July, 1840, Superintendent Waterhouse arrived, to cheer 
the hard-pressed holders of this dangerous outpost. By this 
time the clouds had somewhat lifted ; the people had begun to 
listen to the Missionaries ; strangers gave heed when the Natives 
were indifferent. Hunt writes in his report : 

The Lord has verified His own promise. His word has not returned 
unto Him void. . . . Hundreds from all parts of the dominions of Tui 
Thakau have heard the Gospel, while visiting this place to trade, &c. ; 
many of them have manifested great interest in the things they have 
heard, and have taken the good news to their different towns and 
islands. They only wait for their chiefs to lead the way. . . . Until 
lately the king's son, Tui Kilakila, who is the real sovereign of this place, 
has maintained a determined opposition to Christianity. He has 
allowed us to preach and teach the people ; but he thought it would be 
in vain, as he had expressed his determination to kill the first poor man 
who should profess our religion. But it so happened that the first 
person who renounced heathenism was the king's brother ! 

This aged man was in sore sickness, and Mr. Lyth's skill re- 
moved his malady. The king himself advised him, in the 
course of the treatment, to join the lotu. 

A few days afterwards another chief followed the example of the 
king's brother, no doubt for the same reason, and soon after another 
man of some respectability ; and about the same time a poor girl, whom 
we delivered from the murderous hands of a chief who was about to 
strangle her because she was ill. . . . This commencement of our work 
has been much favoured by the restoration of our servant-man from 
the brink of the grave. . . . All pronounced him past hope of recovery, 
and the king desired to have him buried !> But the Lord blessed 

1 It was common in Fiji for the relatives to bury alive an aged or diseased person 
whose casTwaHSt remedy . This fate ultimately befell Tui Thakau himself. 


English medicine and English nursing, and restored him to perfect 
health. . . . This had a good effect on the mind of the people. . . . 
We have at present twenty-one professing Christians on this station, 
twelve of whom meet in Class. We have had from thirty to forty in our 
school at different times. . . . The king has promised to build us a 
chapel, and he appears to be sincere. We believe the time is come for 
the enlargement of our borders. . . . The fields are whitening for the 

An amazing report to be written within a year of the occupa- 
tion of Somosomo ! The writer modestly is silent about his 
own part in the revolution ; but there can be no doubt that 
John Hunt's perfect temper, intrepid courage, and winning 
address, along with the unconquerable faith and prevailing 
prayers of all his little band, wrought to effect the moral 
miracle. Healing and teaching operated here in fine 

A grateful sign of success appeared during the course of the 
first year in the sparing of the lives of certain widows, and of 
several war-captives, at the entreaty of the Missionaries ; the 
practice of sacrificing human victims on the launching of new 
canoes was also abandoned in Somosomo — an omission un- 
precedented in Fiji. The monster Tui Kilakila fell ill and came 
into Mr. Lyth's hands, who tended him like a brother through 
his long affliction, bringing him round with much difficulty. 
The doctor preached Christ faithfully to his savage patient ; 
and Tui Kilakila, though holding to his sins, learnt to love his 
physician and 

showed a milder spirit ever after, treating Mr. Lyth with great kindness. 
The old king, too, took a great fancy to Lyth, and would often send 
some food to the Mission house, expecting, however, occasional gifts 
of knives, iron pots, and the like 

in return. It was, however, in the dependencies of Somosomo 
that the Gospel gained most ground at this period. Teachers 
were sent out, schools established, and missionary tours made 
on the coasts of Vanua Levu and amongst the thick-sown 
islands adjacent. 

The chiefs of Somosomo were powerful and of widespread influence, 
and Christianity had already reached several distant parts of their 
territories ; but the fact that they had a Mission station under the 
royal sanction at home kept them back from persecuting at other parts. 

So ' the Word of God grew and prevailed ' in north-eastern Fiji. 


We have told how William Cross's death at Somosomo in 
October, 1843, led to a rearrangement of the Mission staff. 
Hunt was removed to Viwa, where he succeeded to the Chair- 
manship of the District, Thomas Williams being brought from 
Lakemba to replace him at Somosomo. Next year Lyth was 
transferred to Lakemba, and David Hazlewood, a young man 
entering the Mission service from Australia, joined Williams, 
now Superintendent of this station. The conditions con- 
tinued violently adverse to the lotu in Somosomo and the 
island of Taviunu ; only occasional and isolated converts 
could be made. The people in general had become friendly, 
and accessible to private visits ; but the reign of terror main- 
tained by the king and his son prevented even the best-dis- 
posed from joining the Mission. Tui Thakau, writes Williams 
in June, 1845, had ' publicly repeated his determination to kill 
and eat any of his people who may profess and interest them- 
selves in the religion of Jesus.' Notwithstanding, the Mis- 
sionaries persevered two years longer, because of the op- 
portunity Somosomo afforded for preaching to strangers, and 
the influence their living here enabled them to exercise 

At the Synod of 1847 it was resolved at last ' to forsake this 
comparatively barren field ' in favour of other more inviting 
districts. Accordingly the Williams family removed to Mbua, on 
the mainland of Vanua Levu, where the work in this part of 
Fiji made a new beginning, and the premises at Somosomo were 
abandoned. The migration had to be carried out with secrecy, 
for although the Somosoman rulers hated Christianity and 
would have none of it, they valued its agents on several 
accounts, and would have retained them. Beside the barter 
their residence brought with it, further trade accrued through 
foreigners touching here ; in the South Seas the Mission 
house was a pledge of safety and hospitality for the storm- 
tossed or sickly mariner, and created purchasers, instead 
of plunderers, for his wares. A couple of Roman Catholic 
priests shortly afterwards occupied the post vacated 
by the Wesleyan Missionaries. They were so plagued 
by the people — especially when they began to abuse their 
predecessors, whom the Somosomans had come to admire 
if they did not follow them — that they soon beat a 


Williams and Calvert write, in the concluding paragraph on 
Somosomo 1 : 

Since then the truth which the rejected Missionaries left behind them 
has sprung up in marvellous growth. The remaining chiefs and people 
have become humbled, and many thousands in Somosomo and its 
dominions are giving up their heathen practices, and show the most 
anxious eagerness to have Missionaries amongst them once more. 

If for the time the people appeared to profit little by the toil and 
love spent upon them, profit came to the expenders. 

The reflection can hardly be omitted [say the authors above quoted] 
that the exalted piety and unconquerable zeal of John Hunt were 
greatly matured and refined in that Somosomo furnace ; and here, too, 
David Hazlewood became baptized with a large measure of the same 
spirit, which also enabled him to persevere even to the death, while he 
gathered those stores of philological information which enabled him 
afterwards to bless the Mission with his excellent Fijian grammar and 

Somosomo was an excellent place for studying Native language 
and life. 

Tui Kilakila succeeded to the throne of Somosomo, when 
his father died at an advanced age, in 1853. With occasional 
fits of good humour, and always affectionate toward Mr. Lyth, 
this man was as much a hater of the lotu as the old king. His 
capricious government stirred up rebellion at home, and one 
night in February, 1854, he was murdered in sleep (as it was 
believed) by his own son. The supposed murderer was slain 
by his brother, who fell in turn by the assassin's hand. The 
little kingdom was torn by civil war, and the royal family all 
but destroyed ; Somosomo itself was burnt down and its site 
deserted, its reduced authority being transferred to the neigh- 
bouring mainland. This tragedy was read throughout Fiji as a 
judgement upon the town which had been the Sodom of the 
islands for wickedness, and on the royal clan which of all Fijian 
families had made the most cruel havoc of the Christian faith. 

James Calvert and his wife remained in charge at Lakemba 
throughout these eventful years, from the departure of Cargill 
to the death of Hunt in 1848. The smallness of the island and 
its distance from the centres of Fijian power limited the im- 
portance of this station ; on the other hand, Lakemba linked 

1 Fiji and the Fijians, Vol. II., pp. 49-51, published 1870. 


Fiji to the rest of the world, and the Mission at this place was 
the stalk on which the others grew. Calvert's continuous 
administration here for ten years sustained the whole work of 
the Society in Fiji. Lakemba was the basis of Tongan in- 
fluence, which powerfully affected the development of Fiji ; 
on this as well as on other accounts it was essential that the 
Mission in that port should be strongly manned. Before the 
Missionaries came Tongan ascendancy appears to have brought 
about the abandonment of cannibalism here. For the first 
few years Tongan converts predominated in the church of 
Lakemba. Many of the wilder young Friendly Islanders re- 
moved to Fiji to escape home-restraints and the strict rule of 
King George Tubou ; some of these were converted, and re- 
turned home as recovered prodigals. Tongan adventurers 
frequently engaged in Fijian wars ; not a few such immigrants, 
through their prowess in battle or through their services in 
trade and navigation, rose to power in the adopted country. 

Tui Nuyau, King of Lakemba, was subordinate to Mbau 
and Somosomo. Not a man of vigorous or decided character, 
for long he played fast and loose with the lotu. He abode by 
his first professions of hospitality to the Missionaries, and 
paid respectful respect to their exhortations ; and he did not 
openly or violently oppose the conversion of his subjects. The 
Missionaries posted at Lakemba brought the whole of this 
small island under their influence. Its people were com- 
paratively intelligent and energetic ; Leaders and Local 
Preachers were soon raised up. As early as 1839 the saying 
was current that ' the god of Lakemba had left the island, be- 
cause the Christian God had beaten him till his bones were 
sore ! ' King Nuyau, in one of his franker moments, declared 
that Christianity was sure to prevail ; ' for who can stop it ? It 
will be the religion of all.' He was in no haste, however, to 
make it his religion, and only became a Christian toward the 
end of his life. Meanwhile he used his prerogative to hinder 
the Missionaries, sometimes in the pettiest way, frequently 
abetting the plots of the heathen priests. The old supersti- 
tions were entrenched in Tui Levaka's nature, and for twenty 
years he halted between two opinions. 

Lakemba became the centre of Methodist propaganda 
amongst the numerous southern islands ; here the most 
notable triumphs of the Gospel were won in the early years of 


the Fijian Mission. Ono is the centre of a tiny group lying 
150 miles south-by-east from Lakemba, and subject to Tui 
Lakemba. In 1835 its inhabitants were scourged by an 
epidemic disease, the effect of which was to shake the faith 
in the indigenous gods. An Ono chief, named Wai, happen- 
ing shortly afterwards to bring the island-tribute to Lakemba, 
met there with a travelled Fijian, who had in the course of his 
wanderings embraced Christianity. This man's conversation 
greatly wrought upon Wai and his companions. On returning 
they communicated what they had learned to their fellow 
islanders, to the effect that there is one God, Jehovah, who is 
perfectly good, the Maker of heaven and earth, and that one 
day in seven is sacred to His worship. The people voted to 
make trial of this Deity. They agreed to put aside their work, 
to anoint themselves and wear their best raiment on the chosen 
day, as they understood Jehovah's people did, and to wait 
upon the Lord. But how to present their prayers ? They 
consulted the heathen priest, their expert in religion, and this 
accommodating man agreed to officiate for them, offering his 
first prayer in the following terms : 

Lord Jehovah, here are Thy people ; they worship Thee. I turn 
my back on Thee for the present, and am on another tack worshipping 
another god. But do Thou bless these Thy people ; keep them from 
harm, and do them good. 

So the Broad Church priest served for the time as minister of 
both religions, and through such intercession seekers after God 
found blessing ; but they longed for better knowledge of His 
ways. Hearing now of the Missionaries in Tonga, the Onoans 
sent to entreat their help ; but assistance came from a nearer 
quarter. In May, 1836, a canoe sailed from Lakemba for Tonga 
with a number of Christian Tongans on board. Amongst these 
was a young man baptized Josiah, who acted as chaplain to 
the crew. The vessel was driven by adverse winds to Ono, and 
Josiah, learning of the wish of the islanders to accept the 
Christian religion, determined to stay with them. He super- 
seded the old priest, and taught the simple folk, who were free 
from the worst Fijian vices, much of the Christian way. The 
messengers sent to Tonga returned with the surprising news 
that Missionaries were now near at hand in Lakemba ! 

About the same time an Onoan, who in his wild youth had 
wandered to Tonga and thence to Lakemba, in the latter place 


was thoroughly converted to God. He was taught to read and 
write, and became a Local Preacher. After due preparation 
Isaac Ravuata (as he was named) was sent back by Mr. Cargill 
to his Native island, in the capacity of teacher, early in 1838. 
This man showed himself, like Epaphras of Colosse, a ' faithful 
Minister of God ' to his kinsfolk. He found 120 worshippers of 
Jehovah in the island, with a sanctuary of their own, keeping 
the Sabbath and observing Christian morality. The new 
instructor was received with acclamation. By the canoe that 
brought him Isaac sent an application for books. Cargill, aided 
by his wife, had by this time produced a quantity of Fijian 
manuscript lesson-books ; he granted the Onoans a share of 
this precious commodity. Before the end of 1839 three more 
teachers had been sent to Ono — two of them Tongans, the third 
a Fijian of Lakemba, a man of the most decided character and 
devoted life, named Lazarus Ndrala, who rendered service 
beyond price in many parts of Fiji. There were now nearly 
400 Methodists in the two inhabited islands of the group, and 
three good chapels built by the islanders. Lakemban visitors 
reported the people so eager for instruction that they were 
scarcely allowed to sleep while staying in Ono ! Moreover, the 
entire population of the little island of Vatoa, fifty miles west 
of Ono, at the persuasion of a Vatoan converted in Lakemba, 
professed Christianity and petitioned for a teacher. Within a 
few months this request was granted. 

Up to this date no Missionary had set foot on Ono ; here 
was a Christian community without the Sacraments or religious 
marriages. Polygamy could not be formally abolished, ' 
although the Ono people were prepared for this, until Christian 
marriage was duly instituted. 

Calvert was alone in charge of the Lakemba Mission, with 
over twenty islands in his Circuit. The voyage to Ono was long 
and difficult, the island lying to windward of Lakemba. On 
the last day of the year 1839 Mr. Calvert took the long-delayed 
voyage at his wife's insistence. 

It would be much better to leave me alone [she said] than to neglect 

so many people. If you can arrange for the work to be carried on here 

you ought to go. 

1 The question of polygamy has sorely exercised missionary administrators. The 
considerations weighing against its summary abolition, where it is bound up with the 
social fabrics, are obvious. Notwithstanding, the Wesleyan Missionary has never 
hesitated on this matter under any circumstances. Good reasons are given for this 
uncompromising policy on pp. 58, 59 of Fiji and Fijians, Vol. II. 


King George of Tonga happened to be concluding a visit to 
Lakemba, and Calvert sailed with him as far as Ono. The 
moral failure of the principal Tongan teacher on this station 
made the Missionary's going the more imperative. He was 
delighted with the work accomplished in the new field. At 
Vatoa he baptized two persons and married twelve couples, 
including the chief of the island ; in Ono he found 233 candi- 
dates prepared for baptism, and 66 couples were married. 
Several young men were so far advanced in knowledge and 
approved in character that he was able to enlist them as 
teachers for other places. The signs were manifest of a deep 
and abiding work of the Spirit of God. These were the ' noble 
Beroeans ' of Fiji ; nowhere else in the archipelago, and 
scarcely anywhere else in the South Seas, had the Word 
of God been received with such readiness and simplicity of 

The persecution carried on by the non-Christians of Ono was 
aggravated through the refusal of a Christian girl, who had 
been betrothed in childhood to the King of Lakemba, to join 
his harem ; she preferred to die ! Calvert expostulated in vain 
with Tui Nuyau ; the Ono heathen urged the king to avenge 
the slight. He sailed from Lakemba resolved to seize Jemima 
Tovo. The king reached Vatoa, and raided this island in his 
rage against the Christians. Four of his canoes were sent to 
Ono in advance ; they foundered on the way, with a hundred 
men on board. Following with two others, he came in sight 
of Ono, when he was driven back by a storm, in which he nearly 
perished. Reaching home with difficulty, he sought out Mr. 
Calvert, confessed his error, and promised that Jemima should 
be left unmolested. The compensation for breach of matri- 
monial contract was sent him from Ono. But the impression 
on Tui Nuyau of his defeat wore off and his anger revived ; he 
vowed to have the maiden from Ono at all costs. The heathen 
egged him on, and his royal dignity was at stake ! The Ono 
Christians ^tood by the brave girl, and armed themselves 
against the island heathen who threatened their destruction. 
After suffering much injury and seeing one of their number 
killed, by a sudden movement they seized the enemy's position 
and captured the whole body of his warriors. Finding their 
lives spared, to their amazement, the hostile chiefs were glad 
to accept peace ; many came over to the Christian side. Tui 


Nuyau was now compelled to desist, or he would have been 
faced by the rebellion of all Ono. A few days after peace had 
been proclaimed Superintendent Waterhouse, accompanied by 
Calvert, Hunt, and Lyth, made his visitation. The whole 
population welcomed the Missionaries, and the occasion was 
one of universal triumph in the Lord. 

Deserving as the Ono people were, it was impossible to spare 
a Missionary from the slender staff of six for this out-of-the-way 
corner of Fiji. Silas Faone, however, one of the ablest and best 
of the available teachers and a chief in Tonga, was set over the 
Church, and the people were satisfied. Under Silas' adminis- 
tration, for a while everything went well. An extraordinary 
visitation of the Spirit of God, commencing through the testi- 
mony of a Native Local Preacher and resembling the Vavau 
revival of seven years earlier, occurred about this time. A 
wave of penitential emotion, leading to a new vision of holiness, 
passed through the Onoan Church and affected the whole 
community for lasting good. Thomas Williams, the next 
Missionary to visit Ono, in 1842, baptized 200 people ; he 
found here a Church membership of 300, forming a third of that 
of the Lakemba Circuit. But three Onoans remained heathen, 
and these were baptized during the Missionary's stay. Ono 
had become a Christian land, and this without a single resident 
White Missionary. The chiefs of other islands watched 
anxiously to see how the change might affect the status and 
customary dues of their order. They were reassured on observ- 
ing that the Onoans, though they resisted their suzerain on the 
matter of polygamous marriage, cheerfully continued their 
tribute and conscientiously obeyed civil authority. 

The story of the Mission in the Ono Group was henceforth 
that of the fashioning of a little Christian people. John Wats- 
ford gave a year of his powerful ministry to Ono (1846-47), and 
witnessed here some of the most wonderful of his ' Glorious 
Gospel Triumphs.' 1 He was removing from Viwa to Lakemba 
under the orders of the Synod when the vessel was driven out 
of its course to Ono. He landed, along with Lyth, the Chair- 
man, who was on the same voyage, and they found the Society 
in distraction. ' The teacher had run wild ; everything was 
going wrong.' It was settled that Watsford should stay, and 
Lyth go on alone to Lakemba. The discomforts of this isolated 

1 See pp. 63-73 of the work bearing this title. 


station were extreme ; but the love of the people was a sufficient 

When I left Ono [writes Watsford] I felt almost as much as I did 
when I left home. The people had become very dear to me, and I 
glorified God in them. 

Walter Lawry, the new General Superintendent, visited this 
spot in 1847, and reports it ' a little gem in the Christian's eye. 
Nearly all the adult population are consistent members of the 
Christian Church, and all the children are under instruction.' 
The population at that date was 474, the Church membership 
310. David Hazlewood followed Watsford at Ono, coming 
there from Somosomo ; the contrast was extreme. The 
demands of the larger stations compelled his removal in 1849 ; 
Native Ministers again superintended the Ono Church, which 
remained a part of the Lakemba Circuit, notwithstanding the 
distance, Joel Bulu officiating there for many years. Ono has 
supplied a number of the best Fijian helpers of the Mission. 
The nearer islands were evangelized from this centre. ' The 
islands round Lakemba were brought under the influence of 
the truth simultaneously with the spread and triumph of the 
Gospel in Ono.' * 

At Oneata, forty miles south-east of Lakemba, the two 
teachers of the London Missionary Society dispatched to Fiji 
by John Williams in 1830 were found by the Wesleyan Mis- 
sionary on his first visit. Unable themselves to form a Church, 
they had prepared the way for others, and assisted the first 
Fijian agents sent from Lakemba. From their coming converts 
rapidly increased, until in 1842 a chapel was built to hold the 
whole of the inhabitants. The Oneata Natives had a good 
reputation among Fijians. Williams and Calvert characterize 
them as ' singularly independent ' and as ' industrious and 
enterprising,' excelling their neighbours both as artisans and 
traders. As with Paul's Thessalonica, so with Oneata ; from 
them ' sounded out the Word of the Lord.' 

Vanua Mbalavu is a large and populous island midway 
between Lakemba and Somosomo. Its people are related to 
the Oneatans, and heard of the lotu through them. A principal 
chief of the town of Lomoloma named Mbukarau early declared 
for the new religion, and sailed to Lakemba to procure a 

1 Fiji and Fijians, Vol. II., p. 93. 


teacher, who was sent after a short delay. Joseph Mbukarau 
(so he was baptized), who in course of time was made Class- 
leader and Local Preacher, became the pillar of a lively and 
faithful Church worshipping in his house. Vanua Mbalavu 
was divided between the rival states of Lomoloma and Yaro, 
both tributary to Somosomo. A war of heathen origin arose 
between the two powers, which the Christians held to be unjust ; 
large numbers of these withdrew from both towns, to form a 
community of their own on the little island of Munia, off the 
coast, where they prospered and from which they continued to 
evangelize the main island, some of them suffering martyrdom 
in the attempt. In the civil war heathenism wellnigh destroyed 
itself. When it came to an end, in 1854, almost the whole 
island was ready to become Christian. The abandonment of 
Somosomo by the Mission had exasperated Tui Kilakila 
against Christianity, and he and his chiefs set themselves to 
extirpate the lotu in Vanua Mb